According to reports, after rejecting an offer of five-years, $44 million from the Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson is set to test the market.
When LeBron and Carmelo make their decision on where they’ll sign, the dominoes will start falling in free agency. Teams who miss out on the two superstars will turn their attention to the next tier of players, which include Pau Gasol, Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza and definitely Stephenson, if he is still available.
Stephenson is just 23 years old, and averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists last season. By just the numbers alone, he should be a highly coveted player on the open market. But of course, stats don’t tell the whole story here. Stephenson was a distraction in the playoffs, most notably when he embarrassed the organization with the entire “blowing in LeBron’s ear” incident. Even before that, he rubbed teammates the wrong way with his selfish approach as the Pacers limped into the post-season.
The Pacers, or any other team that pursues Stephenson, has to ask themselves if he is worth the risk. But as we know, talent always wins out. You can always rationalize the rest or in the worst case scenario, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be interested should they strike out on the top free agents. They can definitely offer more money than the current offer from the Pacers. If Stephenson is looking for the most money, then he might have priced himself out of Indiana.
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