People like to lump pro sports together; and in many ways this is a great mistake. One of the major discrepancies between the major sports is the way the entirety of the free agent system operates. Baseball and to a lesser extent hockey see a plethora of players jump ship regularly, picking up enormous contracts along the way. However, in the NFL and NBA the situation varies greatly. Truly primo players hit the free agent market once a decade (a la Shaq signing with the Lakers) so in the end teams end up haggling for a whole bunch of mediocre players who they hope will 'fit' into their specific system.
Rashard Lewis is a very nice player on an awful Seattle team. He signed a rather lucrative deal three years ago if I recall correctly,and could have remained in Seattle for a further 2 years for 22 million dollars. However, Seattle encountered an incredible stroke of luck on the night of the draft lottery. We all know of the buzz surrounding the two players projected to go in slots one and two in this year's draft (And if you dispute either of these players being in one of those slots, you are either on some incredible crack or a close relation to Mike Conley).
But I digress... Kevin Durant will go to Seattle at #2, barring any unforeseen consternation in the Portland front office or Mike Conley's sister being named Sonics GM.
Durant is 6'10, Lewis is 6'10. Durant's greatest stregth is his shooting ability, Lewis' defining trait is his shooting ability. They both play the small forward position. They are both skinny, athletic guys with Texas roots.
But Rashard Lewis is eight or nine years older, far higher paid for a shorter period of time, and lacks the upside of the UT prodigy. Therefore, Lewis saw that his role on the squad would be greatly diminished; and in fact he was a likely trade target even if he did keep the last two years of his deal. So Lewis opted out.
As you can see (Thank you, NBA, for this nifty system with which I can communicate handy dandy stats with a cool picture of the player in question!) Lewis is a very useful scorer, although a below average rebounder for his size. His defense is questionable but not awful, and his passing not terrible. (Keep in mind, the ONLY player on that Seattle team worth passing to is Ray Allen, so his lack of numbers in that category doesn't concern me)
His move is unconventional, in this light: His opt-out wasn't a move executed to try for a bigger payday. If I recall correctly, there is only one team in the association under the cap this offseason-Charlotte. So the likelihood is that he will leave in some sort of sign-and-trade, allowing Seattle to take their next franchise superstar and still get something for their second best player. Lewis would probably demand an extension from whichever team the Sonics would potentially deal him to; and he has the right to do so, as he is technically a free agent. But that should not be too large an issue, he's not an old player, nor did his work ethic come into question after he signed that 40 million dollar deal not too long ago.
To be honest, no team especially stands out to me as a perfect fit for him. Obviously the area team bias is in contention here; so allow me to offer up a deal I'll cite from a certain broadcaster who hails from the greatest sports station in the known galaxies (Skin of Sportsradio 1310 the Ticket).
Most crazy speculative deals fans have debated this offseason have included Jason Terry. It's not that we don't love the guy; to the contrary, most of us think he's wonderful both as a player and person. But he's just not a very good fit; too much of a score-first guard to play the 1, too small to play the 2, not quick enough for the one and not physical enough for the 2. He'd be optimal as a lightning rod of a sixth man playing either position, but Jerry Stackhouse takes most of the bench minutes already, and the team would lack a starting 2. In addition, he has a contract that while not unfeasible is sizable enough to factor into most major deals.
To Skin's deal... this one would send Terry and Erick Dampier to Seattle in return for Lewis and point guard Earl Watson. Personally, I think the exchange favors Dallas as far as player talent is concerned. It would allow the Mavs to run a lineup of Harris,Howard, Lewis, Nowitzki, and Diop with Stackhouse, Watson, Ager, Croshere, Mbenga, and hopefully a FA like Mikki Moore off the bench. Lewis doesn't fill a need; he's not a pass-first point guard or a post presence. But by essentially replacing Terry on the starting lineup, he offers the same game with 7 additional inches on his frame. In essence, he adds several more rebounds to the team and allows Devin Harris enough minutes at the 1 to properly develop his game. I am a big fan of the underrated Earl Watson, though. He isn't much of a scorer, but a solid perimeter defender with sizable passing ability. He'd be a terrific backup to Harris.
In conclusion, Lewis will be traded. It'd be nice to have him in Dallas. I'm tired. Good night.