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How much can the Pacers offer Lance Stephenson?

Jul 4, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Lance Stephenson Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson’ days with the Pacers might be numbered.

Indiana reportedly offered Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract. His response? Look around for a better deal.

In turn, the Pacers have gone on a spending spree that prevents them from still offering Stephenson even that. They:

Because Miles received the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, the Pacers face a hard cap this season – projected to be $81 million.

To fit under the hard cap, the largest contract Indiana could offer Stephenson is five years, $43,708,217.

But few think the Pacers would go that far. The luxury tax line – projected to be $77 million – is likely their limit.

To stay out of the tax, Indiana could offer Stephenson just five years, $20,708,217.

I don’t think that’s going to cut it for a 23-year-old near-All-Star. Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season. The only other players who hit 13-7-4 in the last 20 years at such a young ageKevin Garnett, LeBron James, Chris Webber, Tracy McGrady, Lamar Odom, Paul George, Grant Hill and Juwan Howard – all received massive paydays.

Questions about Stephenson’s maturity will lower his offers, but not all the way down to barely above $4 million per year.

If the Pacers – who have few resources to replace him if he walks – want to keep Stephenson, they must trim salary. They have three reasonable unilateral options to do that:

Depending on which player(s), Indiana wants to waive, here’s how much money Stephenson could make on a five-year contract:

Waive Stephenson’s potential five-year salary keeping Pacers under tax
Sloan $26,160,154
Mahinmi $34,508,217
Scola $37,541,647
Sloan+Mahinmi $34,697,507
Sloan+Scola $37,730,937
Scola+Mahinmi $46,078,999
All Three $46,268,289

The luxury tax is not assessed until the final day of the regular season. Indiana could always sign Stephenson and trim salary later, though that plan would obviously be risky.

The Pacers are clearly seeking a big trade, and though it might prove difficult, they might trim payroll in such a deal. Maybe Larry Bird has something up his sleeve.

But unless he does or the market for Stephenson is cooler than expected, Indiana is running out of room for Stephenson beneath the tax line.

  1. jadaruler - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Wish the Mavs would step up and offer him 4 for 46. I think he’s good enough to start and would give Dallas the ability 3 guards ( Lance , Ellis, and Harris) late in games.

  2. 88heatnation - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Sign and trade Stephenson, Mahinmi and two 2rd draft picks for Rondo, J. Green would be the smart thing.. would be a formidable lineup of Rondo, P.George, Green, D.West, Hibbert and Miles as 6th man. Lock down defense and gives you a true point guard in Rondo, which would mean open easy looks and also elevate the games for both PG and Hibbert, West as your pick-and-pop guy, Green would be your dirty glue guy. Do it and Larry easily win Executive Of the Year and have arguably the best Big 3 in Rondo, Paul George and Hibb.

    • zoomy123 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Giving up Rajon Rondo AND Jeff Green for Lance Stephenson and a back up center? Yeah, I don’t think so, lol. And Indiana’s second round picks are worth nothing.

    • pudgalvin - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Roy Hibbert? Zero rebound zero point Roy Hibbert. Yes, best big 3 in the league.

  3. csbanter - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Stephenson has over estimated his worth. Now he’s on the outside looking in. He won’t have Bird to have his back when he decides to implode at some point…again. Only other team that could control Stephenson is probably the Spurs, but they don’t sign headcases…..

    • lenbias34pt - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      CS, Know one of significance has signed.
      Far to early anyone has over estimated their worth.

      Lance is young, put up great #’s (see article) and plays with a rare intensity. Sure he could mature – that is what 23 year olds do.
      Lance will make more than Indiana offered. What is unsure is will it be a better situation, how Lance will handle the coin and how much the Pacers will miss him.

      I think the last ? is pretty simple to answer. George won’t miss him anywhere but in the Win Loss column. . . . and I’m not sure how much that really matters to paul.

      • bdachan12 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        I was young before. I don’t remember pushing any one down a flight of stairs. Especially not my baby’s momma.

    • qdog112 - Jul 4, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      No, you’re wrong. He is worth way more than they can offer, based on true market value. A 23 year old all star, who’s arch is unlimited can write his own check. Have you seen the salaries guys are making? Gordon just signed with ORL for 4.5 mil and DET just gave Meeks 6.5 per year. That means Stephenson’s value is in the 12 to 15 mil range.

      I’ll be shocked if anyone gets him for under 10 million.

  4. sportsnut101 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Just let him go

  5. campcouch - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Some White Castle.

  6. seansull83 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Hard to have your head on straight in the locker room when Paul George is sleeping with your teammates lady friends. The kid is young and surrounded by other head cases. He can turn it around, but I don’t think Indy is the place to do it. David west can only babysit so many people and Paul George and Roy Hibbert take a lot of the old vets time. Lance come to Boston, we’ll take your brand of crazy and make it work.

  7. davidly - Jul 4, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    He must have George Costanza as an agent.

  8. 1friendofthepeople - Jul 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Jodie Meeks just received a little over 6 per season. No way Lance gets less than Jodie Meeks. Miami is a team supposedly interested. The absolute lowest he goes for is 7.5 per

    • 1friendofthepeople - Jul 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      And that would be if all the other teams were scared off by his immaturity. Worst case scenario

  9. 00maltliquor - Jul 4, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    I love his intensity and I think people read into it waaaay too much. That being said, INDs initial offer was more then enough for his talent level and I don’t see another team offering more. But then again this is the year of the Role Player sooo…

    • seansull83 - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Ya Indys offer was more than fair but he is 4th banana on a team that are all prone to meltdowns of epic size. I mean Hibbert looked second rate and Paul George was humpin around, and not being the star everyone claims. The kid needs stability, and Indy can’t provide that. Imagine him under a good coach with a few vets to bottle that crazy.

  10. jadaruler - Jul 4, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    @00maltliqour If Aver Bradley can get 32 mil over 4 years for just playing defense and being injury prone, I’d ask for 50 over 5 years if I’m Lance.
    I feel he’s another Monta for the right team. He’s overcome the law trouble early in his career and has become a solid player.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 4, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      You may be right, but it doesn’t make it right.

      • seansull83 - Jul 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        Look it could be more than money. He is a black sheep on that team, yes his actions make him so at times, but Pacers lost the ECF and all the talk was about “bad Lance”. He shouldn’t have tried to play games with James, he should have done this and that. No the Pacers lost because Hibbert couldn’t hit a shot from 2 inches. Pacers lost because Paul George couldn’t hit a clutch shot to keep them in the game or get a run started.

        If I’m Lance I’m shopping. He won’t get to the next level in Indy. Fans quick to blame him, while over looking the obvious. His team does the same and what I see is just a guy with so much unfocused passion just gettin beaten down. Will he get less, probably, but he will be happier not being the reason Pacers lose deserved or not.

  11. saint1997 - Jul 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Lance to Charlotte and he’d be sitting pretty, maybe even Atlanta? Lance feels like one of the guy the Lakers would love to target – if only he was tall enough to play the 3!

  12. metalhead65 - Jul 4, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    if Stephenson only wants the money than just say so. nobody will begrudge him or any athlete as long as they just admit it. just say upfront it is about the money and I want more than they can give me. none of this I was disrespected by their offer garbage or the I really enjoyed my time there and hate to leave nonsense when he signs with another club, just be honest. they have been straight with him since the season ended and let him know they want him back but only at the right price so they do not go over the cap, the least he can do for the fans is be honest and tell them what they already know.

  13. simonkuntz - Jul 4, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Lance is by far worth 5 years $50 million and Larry should have offered him that initially. If Lance took the 5 year $44 million deal, on average he would have made just $800,000 more than George hill and almost half of Hibberts and Paul George’s deals. Are you telling me Paul George is twice as good as Lance Stephenson, the guy who led the league in triple doubles? Yeah right, I’m not buying that. Lance thrives in Indiana and loves the city. I would hate to see him go. Larry Bird better not screw our team over! Lance shouldn’t have to suffer financially because of other players contracts on the Pacers (Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill). Lance doesn’t deserve the short end of the stick and I can’t blame him for testing the waters. I really hope Bird and Lance reach a deal to remain with the Pacers. He’s a fan favorite!

    • johnc44 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      I`m a Pacers fan but you have to weigh Stehenson`s on court value against the very real risk of implosion.Whether it`s the locker room or worse.Gilbert Arenas was the 2nd highest paid player in the league LAST season.Remember Stephon Marbury`s implosion?Lance could be an all star in 3 years or out of the league.Who is he going to listen too once he`s got 50-60 million guaranteed no matter what he does?Arenas played 2 seasons of a 110 million dollar deal.I wouldn`t want to go past 10 but i wouldn`t go beyond 11 even if i had it.If someone does then let him walk.

  14. qdog112 - Jul 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Stephenson was the only Indy player to take part in the Miami series. Everybody else was scared. You guys are nuts if you think his market value is 10 mil or less. Without him they fall off the map.

  15. johnc44 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    I could be wrong here.I`m not a expert columnist like this guy but none of these deals are official until July 10th.If they have a deal with Lance by the 10th then they sign his deal 1st and then the 5.3 MLE is split between Miles (4.2) & Rudez (1.1) and have no effect on what they can give Lance.If they waive Sciola 1st then sign Lance they can give him 5 years 55 million and then sign Miles & Rudez with the split MLE.

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