May 26, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) reacts against the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Is Lance Stephenson Worth It To The Lakers?


The Los Angeles Lakers have been aggressive in free agency so far this summer; however, they’ve come up empty handed over and over again. There is one “marquee” free agent left on the board. His name in Lance Stephenson.

The Lakers have shown interest in Stephenson, but have been busier trying to land the likes of Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and apparently Dirk Nowitzki. What the Lakers have to show for free agency right now is contract promises to Jordan Hill (2 years/$18M), the immortal Swaggy P, aka Nick Young (4 years/$21.5M), a trade for Jeremy Lin and a first round pick from the Houston Rockets. It’s a sad state of affairs here in Los Angeles.

However, the Lakers can make a minor splash and improve there chances of making the playoffs in the 2014-15 season by trying to sign Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson. While we know that Stephenson is a bit of a misfit, he is also a massively talented 23-year old who led the NBA with five triple doubles last season, NBA guards in rebounds with 7.2 a game, and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the association.

Stephenson famously, or infamously, turned down Indiana’s 5-year, $44M deal on July 1st and is one of the last big name free agents left standing. The question remains: Will the Lakers try to sign Lance Stephenson?

The more appropriate question is CAN they sign Lance Stephenson?

Stephenson has been courted by plenty of teams. The Dallas Mavericks were close to offering him a contract before the Houston Rockets decided to not match Chandler Parsons offer sheet. Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets have been rumored to have interest for some time now; however, they’ve never extended an offer. The Hawks may be interested. Right now it looks like Larry Bird, the President of the Indiana Pacers, is playing a game of chicken with Stephenson and his representatives. And you know what? He’s winning.

Back to our question: Can the Lakers sign Lance Stephenson?

The simple answer is yes. By promising contracts to Jordan Hill and Nick Young, but not actually signing the deals and making them binding, the Lakers still have about $6.8M in cap space to work with after the Jeremy Lin trade. The Lakers can always go over the luxury tax to re-sign their own players, assuming they don’t renounce their rights, which the Lakers won’t do. Meanwhile, the Lakers can open up another $6M this season by using the stretch provision on Steve Nash. The stretch provision essentially “stretches” Nash’s contract out over three years, meaning he would receive $3.1M over the next three years, instead of $9M+ this season.

The Lakers do not want to use the stretch provision on Steve Nash. Their dream scenario, right now, is to trade Nash to another team who wants an expiring contract in return for picks. Is that likely to happen? Not at this point in the offseason. If the Lakers are truly interested in bringing in a player like Lance Stephenson then they’re likely going to have to use the stretch provision on Nash in order to clear enough cap space to sign Stephenson.

Let’s assume that the Lakers use the stretch provision on Nash. That means that the Lakers will have about $12M in cap space, before signing Hill and Young. Would Stephenson accept a 2-year deal with the Lakers for $22-24M? Would the Lakers be willing to go over the salary cap and potentially go into the luxury tax for Lance Stephenson?

Is Lance Stephenson worth the headache? It’s going to be hard enough to convince Stephenson to take a shorter term deal in Los Angeles. It’s also going to require a lot of time and effort to make the necessary deals to create space for Stephenson. And then, once you get Stephenson in the door, is he worth $11-12M a season if he’s going to act like a petulant child 5-10% of the time. Is it worth it? Is it all worth it?

I can’t answer that question. All I know is that if the Lakers have any interest in salvaging their 2014-2015 season they must consider signing Lance Stephenson. If they’re not interested in competing next season and they’re simply looking to acquire assets for 2015 and 2016 then by all means they should continue doing what they’re doing.

Lance Stephenson comes at a cost. But so does losing. It’s your choice Mitch. Time to put your cards on the table.

 

Want more from LA Sports Hub?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix.
Enter your email and stay in the know.

 

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Jordan Hill Lance Stephenson Los Angeles Lakers Nick Young Steve Nash

  • J Taylor

    Put the $6.8M on the table and let it sit.
    He can take it or leave it.

  • Michael Lamb

    Definitely worth it. Still has a very high ceiling and is young. He will grow up at some point hopefully. It would put a good young core of players to build around one Kobe retires. Stephenson, Lin, Randle, and Hill are all solid assuming Randle performs how I think he will. Build around that and the future could be bright for the Lakers.

  • Sagar

    try to trade nash with the picks from rockets..exactly what rockets did..if any team take nash ..then lakers does have $18…give lance a 2+2 year deal of $44…last 2 year is team option..so lakers can easily sign durant and others in 2015 first..and then go over that salary cap for lance re-sign..

  • Nate Kenny

    Lakers would have to make some moves in order to pull this off, but it is possible. Probably going to require a minimum or 9.2 million a year to get Stephenson. But all in all I think he’s going resign with my Pacers.

  • junjay32

    LIN salary is about $14M in Lakers with NASH $9M this 2 guards is really best, but how about their health? To avoid their injuries. Lakers looses great Small forward, and dreaming for LEBRON, CARMELO and ARIZA is already broken after they sign to another teams. I think Stephenson really needed to Lakers If he agree in $11M worth salary. But the problem is this cap space. And I think Lakers need to get a best Centers with a minimum salary like BLATCHED and MONROE. To have a chance to get STEPHENSON. GASOL loss in lakers is really big problem to lakers, and if NASH will trade, they have a chance to bring also BOOZER here in LAKERS. Thanks

  • Kevin Vandy

    The Pacers are already offering him more than that for next season. Almost $1M more

  • M T

    SIGN LANCE!
    Trade Lin away to the Magic for almost nothing like a heavily protected 2nd rounder that will never go to LA. The Magic would make this trade for 2 reasons. One, Their current salary is just 50 mil, but every team’s salary this year has to reach a minimum of 58, so trading for Lin would allow them to be at roughly 58 mil. The Magic already have 12 guys under contract, so it’s not like the last 3 roster spots are gonna bring them from 50 mil to the league minimum of 58 mil. Magic would also do this trade bcz they don’t lose anything, and they get a serviceable pg to play behind Elfrid since Jameer is gone.

    LA would love this trade bcz they get to clear 8.4 mil in cap space for free. LA now has enough space to offer lance a 4 year 40 mil contract or even a 4 year 48 mil contract bcz Lance is worth all that.

    Elite defense, ball handling, playmaking, rebounding better than EVERY guard, hustle, aggressive play, scoring- Lance brings absolutely everything unlike Nick Young who brings only 1 thing…..

  • LakerDev

    Waiting on Melo cost the Lakers. They should have went after Lance from the beginning. You pair him with Randle and watch them grow. Then next summer find another piece or two.