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Report: Lakers and Mavericks interested in Lance Stephenson if they strike out on LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony

Jul 7, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are keeping NBA free agency in a holding pattern. Those two are so much ahead of the rest of the field, teams will wait for them before pursuing fallback options.

Melo will likely choose his new team soon, though LeBron could take much longer.

Whenever it shakes out, Lance Stephensonunhappy with the Pacers’ five-year, $44 million contract offer – will get plenty of looks.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Stephenson has drawn interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, though both teams have other free agents prioritized above Stephenson, according to sources.

The Lakers are one of the top contenders for Melo, so getting him would likely take them out of the race for Stephenson. But if Melo returns to the Knicks or anywhere else outside Los Angeles, I love the idea of Stephenson on the Lakers.

The Lakers owe the Phoenix a top-five protected first-round pick next season, and I doubt they tank hard enough to keep that. With their high ticket prices and big sponsorship deals, they need to be competitive.

Offer Stephenson a two-year max contract with the second year fully unguaranteed. He’d make the Lakers better, and he’s one of the NBA’s most exciting players, too. He’d also have huge trade value even if he tanks due to that large expiring contract.

The Mavericks would also make an interesting suitor with Jose Calderon, traded to the Knicks, vacating a starting backcourt spot. Stephenson and Monta Ellis can both handle on-ball duties, though I’m not sure they combine into a capable point guard. Dallas has made a habit of finding undervalued free agents, so I’d guess Stephenson signs there only if the market dries up elsewhere.

Of course, Indiana remains in the mix to retain its near-All-Star.

Since I last covered how much the Pacers can pay Stephenson, they signed Lavoy Allen. Assuming Allen is on a one-year contract, I projected Indiana can offer Stephenson just $38,445,570 over five years – $15,445,570 to remain below the luxury-tax line.

The good news for the Pacers? Stephenson is in no rush. That should give Larry Bird time to shop Roy Hibbert or take other cost-saving measures.

Small moves like waiving Luis Scola, waiving Donald Sloan, waiving Shayne Whittington, stretching Ian Mahinmi and/or waiving Allen if his deal isn’t fully guaranteed might create room for Indiana to increase its offer to Stephenson.

But if the Pacers are unwilling or unable to appease Stephenson, he’ll have other options.

  1. cantonb0und13 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Lakers

  2. urallstupid - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    LA will just blow whatever IND offers out the water (if they miss on mel/lebron). stephenson aint going back to IND.

  3. unxpexted1 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I really dont see the fit with lance in LA. Even though i like his game, and he’s a great defender, which is something we need. He’s a 2 and would be undersized at the 3, sitting around 6’5. ANd kobe can’t play the 3 at his age. But the NBA is starting to come more and more positionless so maybe it can work. Just don’t see it.

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      You should probably look a little harder. He was the best play maker the Pacers had last season. He’s a two way player that can cover 3 positions solidly and, in a pinch, he was guarding LeBron.

      Check out this article about his game: http://hoopshype.com/columns/david-nurse/the-curious-case-of-lance-stephenson

      And he’s only 23! I think 12-15 million per is what it will take for the Lakers to sign him, which means they’d also have room for Isiah Thomas at ~6 million. That is a sweet consolation prize for not getting LeBron or Melo. And, in my opinion, is they way the Lakers should play it anyway. That way they still can take a run at under 30 starts like Durant, Love, Westbrook in the next few seasons. Lance, IT, and Randle, if he pans out, would form a very good, young, and athletic nucleus for the whoever wants to come to LA.

  4. chiadam - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Why the hell would Stephenson take a two-year deal with one year guaranteed? And they should give a nutcase like him a crap contract so that he’s easier to trade when he’s upset with his crap contract?Seriously, we are all now dumber for having read that.

  5. garypagetwo - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    go look up articles from last year on this site . and Tell me that the only difference are the NAMES . Otherwise SAME SPIN of such non sense stories they spew on this website . to track views . This site is a joke .

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      There’s no hard news right now. Hence opinion articles. If you’d prefer there to be absolutely nothing on the site right now, you can not visit it and get the same effect.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        And miss the chance to hate. No way!

  6. johnc44 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    As a Pacers fan all i can say is good luck to whoever gives Lance big money.If you think he`s a head case now wait until he`s rich and really doesn`t have to listen or care about what anyone else thinks.Some team will do it.They did it for Sprewell,Marbury & Arenas so they will do it for Lance but it won`t be the Pacers because they know him better than the other teams do and know the very real chance of implosion.

    • seansull83 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Because Paul George and Roy Hibbert are poster child’s for mental stability.

      • bball242322 - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Did he say they were? certainly are nowhere near the head case that Lance is, so nice try with that comment…

  7. smoothaswilkes - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Completely off topic, but where did the thumbs go? Looks like they were taken down on all of the Talk blogs. How I am going to show my disdain for cantonb0und13′s and anti’s comments now? It’s a sad day here at PBT.

    • caeser12 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      @Smoothaswilkes.

      Also don’t forget Kobe’s personal groin holder, kb2408.

      (:

      • smoothaswilkes - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        +1

    • clevelandrox - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      lol,just refresh

      • smoothaswilkes - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        haha, they’ve been gone all morning on all three sites. weird.

  8. lenbias34pt - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Hate to be his agent…….Lance has to be in full panic mode after turning down 44 Mil.

    In the end it will workout and he’ll get even more coin, but each minute must last hours.

    Also i see it as more likely where ever he ends up will be an upgrade to Indy. Sure George is a top 25 player ,but what else do they have?
    Hill is solid, Hibbert is the biggest question (and most over paid) guy in the NBA, and that Bench Bird has destroyed.

    I promise you, the Pacers will struggle mightily without the wind blower.

    • kinggw - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      The market is in a holding pattern. If Avery Bradley can get $32M, Lance can do better than $44M

      • lenbias34pt - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        i think that is what i said…..in many more words

  9. heat256 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Let him go to LA. It’ll be interesting to see when Kobe rips into him and Lance goes full loony on him during a timeout and beats him silly. Jim Buss’ head will explode on live TV and it’ll be glorious.

  10. fordmandalay - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE my Lakers, sign Stephenson over Carmelo! They need young guys with loads of potential and a future ahead, that they can make LAKERS – not more overpriced retreads!

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      nice to meet you ford

      you’re a smart man…

  11. realfootballfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Stevenson in LA with old Kobee would be funny. He might get hit in practice. In Dallas, that might work.

  12. realfootballfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Also, Houston, instead of chasing dreams in Carmelo and Bosch should be all over this.

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