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How much would you pay Lance Stephenson in free agency this summer?

Apr 24, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

Boston Celtics  v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

Lance Stephenson is just 23, is an explosive guard who averaged 13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game this season playing for a team with one of the best records in the NBA.

Lance Stephenson is also an unrestricted free agent this summer.

That would often mean a big payday is coming… but it might not be as big as Stephenson wants. What he wants is a four-year, eight-digits a year contract.

Problem is a guy that got (and deserved) some of the blame for the Pacers stumbles the second half of the season, plus this is a guy who had a couple run-ins with teammates, the latest of which was Evan Turner the night before the playoffs. That is hurting his value on the market, reports Sean Deveney at The Sporting News.

One league executive said the problems that have arisen—the public ones, remember, not the behind-the-scenes ones—with Stephenson will cut deep into his value on the free-agent market, and that a deal worth $7 million-$8 million per year is more likely to be Stephenson’s range now.

“You hear things, for sure,” one general manager told Sporting News this week. “Stephenson is a guy who has talent, but if you have a young team and you’re building up a culture, you have to consider that before you pursue a guy who might affect your locker room negatively. You have to do your due diligence. But that sort of thing is going to affect the market for him, for sure. If a guy has issues, you better know about them and you think twice about going after him.”

In what is a down free agent summer, some teams are going to make a run at Stephenson, maybe just not as hard a run as he wants.

Indiana also likely tries to keep him.

Then it will all come down to money. With older players there are discussions of fit and rings, but with young players such as Stephenson (a guy who made only $1 million this season, and that was the most in his career) he is going to take the Benjamins. All of them he can get.

It just may not be as many as he thinks he’s going to get.

  1. jasper36 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    What ever you would pay JR Smith is around the amount you should pay Lance. Because they are basically the same type of player. Very explosive in negative and positive ways, I do wonder how much more effective players like this could be if they ended up on a team like the Spurs because he still has so much untapped potential.

    • calkinsrob - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      I feel like lance is a little bit better than JR. JR doesnt get triple doubles. I dont want him on my team though. I dont like reckless players like him.

  2. reesesteel23 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    He wants Steph Curry money? Bahaha

  3. pharohislife - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    $2

    • money2long - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      You could get a big bag of Doritos with that

  4. ewyorksockexchange - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    I’d love to see him in a sixers uniform. They certainly will have the cap space to absorb 4 yr/$40M, and would still have enough money left to sign a big name or two in 2015 (the rest of the roster will be rookie deals and near-minimum contracts in 2014-15, and into the summer of 2015). And Stephenson is so young that he won’t be a geezer by the time Noel, MCW, and whoever they draft this year have developed into what they’ll be in the NBA.

    I just don’t know if Hinke/Brown want to deal with his attitude, or if Stephenson even wants to go to a rebuilding situation like Philly.

    • sire2334 - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      Are you serious? Philly doesn’t need him. Last thing the Sixers need is negativity on their team. You’re in a great place right now. At reset. Build through the draft. Add mature free agents and try to make a run.

      • ewyorksockexchange - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        I am serious. I do have reservations about his attitude, but I think that has a lot to do with his youth, the pressure of playing for a contender, and the general frustration with the Pacer’s slide.

        The sixers need a 2, 3, and a 4/5 (depending on where they feel comfortable playing Noel). If they draft a 3 and 4/5, and sign Stephenson, they have a young core that can grow together. I believe that Stephenson can be a starter at the 2 and a third option on a good team (he’s proven that with the Pacers). Add a high or mid tier vet in 2015, and I think you have a team that can compete for home court in a first round playoff series in 2015-16, provided you draft well.

        From purely a performance perspective, I think the move could make sense. But, like I said, it’s up to Hinke and Brown to do their homework on him and see if his attitude is something that can be toned down or handled by the coaching staff.

      • spursareold - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Youth is just an excuse. There are plenty of young guys in the league with good attitudes.

      • sire2334 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:53 PM

        Looking at it as far as go, sure and I understand from a pure performance point of view. But I don’t think you can make your decision from simply that angle. Listen, I’m a Wizards fan so I know ineptitude. I also know what a team on the rise looks like. Everyone has made fun of the Sixers this year and rightfully so. But MKW is going to learn and get better. An awesome piece to start with. And if Noel is healthy you’re set with your big man. Add a nice piece or 2 in the draft and you a team that will go through some hard knocks together but they’ll being learning throughout the process.

      • ewyorksockexchange - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        Spurs, I think you can’t discount youth as a reason for immaturity. And there aren’t many 23 year old 2 guards that have proven that they can create their own shot, shoot 49% fg and 35% 3ptfg, and take in 7+ rebounds in 35 mins/gm. Especially ones that have 4 years of experience and are available in free agency. As I’ve said, if they decide they can manage his personality, he could be a great fit, depending on how the sixers draft.

        And sire, I think you have a good point. But with the cap space they have, they can afford to take a 4 year risk with Stephenson. If they trade thad at some point, they won’t be hamstringing themselves in future FA periods too much, they can still add to the equation.

    • sumkat - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:48 AM

      So the veteran presence on the team would be a known bad attitude/bad teammate guy? Makes no sense. Would be an awful signing for the Sixers. Not only is he a bad influence on the young players, 10 million means they can’t afford 2 max players after next year.

      It also COULD mean they make the playoffs next year in the East, and lose their first. Something else they don’t want.

      Honestly, I don’t see a single positive

  5. bucrightoff - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Whatever I’d pay him, I’d also hire a shrink too. Talented but loose cannon to say the least.

  6. bronx77 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    He will get his 8 figures from some desperate team.

  7. jadaruler - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Wanted the Mavs yo draft Lance out of Cincy, wouldn’t mind them signing him this summer.

  8. 00maltliquor - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Eight figures would be ridiculous. The 7 per range is really just about right, but even a mill higher and I’d let him walk easily.

  9. andreboy1 - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Curry got that amount before he blew up and had chronic ankle problems. Curry would have maxed out if he waited a little bit before signing. So that comparison doesn’t make sense.

    You know who else got Curry money?

    Tyreke Evans got 44 million over 4 years.

    Lance is better than Tyreke Evans (I’m a KIngs fan and still root for Evans)

    Lance will get somewhere around the 9-11 million range because he’s a well-rounded player but with intangible issues.

    • spursareold - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Tyreke Evans doesn’t have attitude problems.

      • kinggw - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        There were stories coming out of Sacramento that said otherwise.

    • bougin89 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      I agree and great examples. I don’t necessarily think Lance is worth 10 million per but that doesn’t mean he won’t get it.

  10. readysethike - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    maybe that story was leaked about him getting into a fight to hurt his value on the open market, so in return the Pacers can lower the offer and retain him next year.

    • spursareold - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Or maybe it’s actually true!!!!!!!

  11. bronx77 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    I agree 8 figures would be ridiculous but that doesn’t mean he won’t get it.

    • spursareold - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      It’s a new day. The tax is SO much more painful to teams now that you can’t afford to roll the dice on a long term big contract for an attitude case like this for four years unless your last name is Dolan. You’d never be able to get rid of him, and he’d destroy your team from the inside out, starting in the locker room and working his way out to the court via his selfish second half of the season play.

  12. 12444uggg - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I like Lance, but if he left the Pacers, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Can’t keep a guy like that at a top end price.

    • kinggw - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      Pacers fans might not want to admit it, but they need Lance. Besides him the only offensive talent they have is George. They could roll the dice and probably keep Turner at a cheaper rate. Turner is not as dynamic as Lance and is a few years older.

      Good teams work with difficult players and help them grow up, bad teams give up on the same players and watch them flourish elsewhere.

      • 12444uggg - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        Don’t disagree with any of that. *IF* he’s the problem the (and some of it is based on rumors) that makes the situation a bit different in terms of long term continuity. I gotta believe that the Pacers won’t be static if one guy comes or goes (because they will).

  13. seanb20124 - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Don’t forget multiple run ins with the law.

  14. indyzown - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Smear campaign. .. since when has lance been a locker room cancer. .. so what him and Turner had words… that don’t mean he brings negativity to the locker room. And his demeanor, should be justified if he or /and the team aren’t playing championship caliber ball , you should be mad… The media is ridiculous

  15. indyzown - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Oh are the spurs 1 -1 in their series. ..
    And they don’t have any locker room cancers do they ?…
    Get serious..

  16. money2long - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    I think the recent negative stories have really hurt his wallet and perception.
    Few months ago he was balling , away from too much drama and had people screaming from the mountains about HOW IS HE NOT AN ALL STAR .. I think had the pacers still been killin, lance had a clean reputation and had a few more triple doubles down the stretch, oh. And a good post season, then people wouldn’t be typin 2 dollars and have people liking such comments.

  17. miamatt - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    A half-eaten bag of gas station donuts, two paper clips, and a fair condition Christian Laettner rookie card.

    • money2long - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      Heat fans would make lance Stephenson out to be the second coming of earl the pearl if pat Riley tries to sign him to the heat though , huh ?

  18. money2long - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    Heat fans would make lance Stephenson out to be the second coming of earl the pearl if pat Riley tries to sign him to the heat though , huh ?

  19. sumkat - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    Ask me when/if the Pacers get eliminated. Mid level contract are earned in the regular season, big money is earned in the playoffs

    Either way, he doesn’t get Curry money

  20. dmq13 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    I say he’ll probably get an 8.5-9million dollar deal over 3-4 years.

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