Last night, Rashard Lewis’ agent, Tony Duff, confirmed that Lewis would need off season knee surgery to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. This morning, a variety of sources on twitter whispered that the Mavericks would void the contract of Lewis. President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson confirmed the rumors when he released the following statement at 11:30 am EST:
“It came to our attention during Rashard Lewis’s physical that he is in need of a medical procedure on his right knee. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery and continued success in his remarkable career.”
This is the second straight year the Dallas Mavericks have signed a veteran player, only to void his contract after a physical. In 2013, the Mavericks signed guard Devin Harris to a three year, $9 million contact only to find out he needed to have surgery on his toe. In 2011, the Kings voided Chuck Hayes contract due to a heart abnormality in his physical.
It’s important to note that this kind of contract void is not uncommon. As outlined in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams are allowed to void a contract within three days if a player does not pass his physical. Though NBA teams can, in theory, void contracts for a number of reasons, failing a physical is the most common occurrence. There are terms under which a player’s contract might become void for personal conduct reasons, as outlined by Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ:
- When the player violates Paragraph 16 of the standard NBA contract. The team can void the contract when the player:
- Fails, refuses, or neglects to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character (defined as not engaging in acts of moral turpitude, whether or not these acts constitute a crime), and good sportsmanship.
- Commits a significant and inexcusable physical attack against any official or employee of the team or the NBA (other than another player), or any person in attendance at any NBA game or event. The determination as to whether the attack was significant and inexcusable considers the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of any provocation.
Getting into that opens a whole bag of worms, however, and, again, teams have generally voided contracts only in the case of physical problems.
With the release of Lewis, Dallas is back in the market for a back up for Dirk Nowitzki.