You know those players who over time fail to live up to their deal and by the end of it – speaking of the last year or two – when their trade value spikes and they’re referred to as “So and so’s contract?” Well, that’s sort of where Rashard Lewis is. He’ll be the second-highest paid player in the league next season, and for the last year or so hasn’t looked at all like the guy who once regularly dropped 20 a night in Seattle, or even the three-point specialist during his first run in Orlando. Injuries have played a big part. The situation with the lockout has put added attention onto the contract of a guy who has become the very definition of a one-dimensional player. Lewis is promising next year won’t be like that. He’s working out, showed more explosiveness in the Impact League and even had platelet rich plasma treatment in March. He’s hoping to get back to his Seattle days and become a good all-around player again rather than the dude who looked lost and old in Washington last season. Even if he can’t, a shooter opposite some of these young athletes in Washington could go a long way … Why one writer thinks Kevin Durant > LeBron James … We found a league more screwed up than the NBA right now: it’s the Italian League. You have a chance to land one of the greatest basketball players ever, and possibly the biggest international star out there, and yet Kobe Bryant might not be able to cross the seas and play because of a scheduling conflict? Absurd. It was reported that Bryant has agreed in principle to a deal that will land him in Italy for 40 days, but the team wants to rearrange its schedule so that Bryant will play in the biggest possible arenas. Other teams don’t seem to see the appeal in having Kobe play so a few have balked at making adjustments so far. Shoot, even David Stern could figure this one out … Miami center Zydrunas Ilgauskas told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that he’s retiring. We could see that coming. Big Z was tired physically and mentally (Z even said he’s spent the last 15 years living out of a suitcase. WHAT?!), and couldn’t even get on the court anymore for a team like the Heat who were rolling with virtually nothing inside. This final season seemed to zap the air right out of him as time went on. Great career, great dude … Panini Authentic is partnering with Blake Griffin, and the Clipper beast will be at Orange County Sports Cards in Anaheim, Calif. at 2 p.m. PST today, signing 250 exclusive autographs. You can bring your own stuff if you want, but there will also be photo printouts available as well … Ever wonder what would happen if Delonte West worked at a Cold Stone Creamery? … 2K is still trying to figure out who the best team of all-time is. MJ says he’ll let his ring do the talking. But of course Drake had to come in and pick the Miami Heat. Of course he would. That’s the most Drake thing he could’ve done. For our money, office opinion is split down the middle between the ’96 Bulls and the ’86 Celtics … And Rodney Purvis says he’s staying home and will attend N.C. State next year. How big of a get is that for the Wolfpack? … We’re out like Terry Francona.
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