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Rashard Lewis has a lot to lose but is willing to sacrifice

Sep 22, 2011, 11:56 AM EDT

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Rashard Lewis is the guy who gets pointed at when people start talking about the lockout and the bad contracts out there — next season the Wizards stretch four will be the second highest paid player in the NBA (behind Kobe Bryant). Of course, like he said, what did you expect him to do, say no when he was offered that deal?

He’s in the last year of that deal and is set to make $22 million next season. One last big kick at the can. He’s never going to get paid like that again.

Which is why his statements about standing behind the union during the lockout carry extra weight. He spoke with Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

“I’m willing to sacrifice my salary to get a fair deal,” Lewis said after playing a game with Washington Wizards teammates John Wall, Jordan Crawford and JaVale McGeehere at the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series. “It’s only fair.”

That is a sign of the unity Derek Fisher spoke of after a player meeting last week in Las Vegas.

Lewis also reiterated a point Shaquille O’Neal made yesterday and others have before — if you want to blame someone for the bad contracts, blame the owners for offering them.

“Talk to the owner. He gave me the deal,” Lewis said. “When it comes to contracts, the players aren’t sitting there negotiating that contract. I’m sitting at home and my agent calls me, saying, ‘I got a max on the table.’ I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘Naw, that’s too much. Go out there and negotiate $20 or $30 [million] less.’ ”

“I thought my agent did a good job of negotiating my contract, and at the time I was coming out of Seattle, averaging 23 points, playing well. It was perfect timing for me,” Lewis continued. “At the same time, I understand the owners don’t want to overpay players, but you’ve got to do better negotiating. Try your best to save money.”

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