Lance Stephenson Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation on Free-Agent Star

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Lance Stephenson Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation on Free-Agent Star
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Updates from Wednesday, July 16

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Hornets will sign Lance Stephenson to a three-year deal:

ESPN's Chris Broussard adds details: 

Updates from Tuesday, July 15

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports on a new team that has become interested in Lance Stephenson:

Updates from Sunday, July 13

Over the weekend, Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George commented on Lance Stephenson's ongoing free agency, per the Indy Star's Mark Ambrogi:

'I was a restricted free agent so I didn't have to go through this,' George said at his youth basketball camp at Avon High School on Saturday. 'So this is really up to Lance but I do want Lance coming back. I love being teammates with Lance. If he needs any words or anything to talk about, I'm always here for Lance.'

George said he has talked to Stephenson a little bit since the season ended.

'I know how stressful this can be,' George said. 'I don't want to add more to it. Whenever he wants to come out to me, I'm there.'

Updates from Saturday, July 12

Tim McMahon of ESPN reports the Dallas Mavericks are interested in Lance Stephenson:

Add Lance Stephenson to the list of the Mavericks’ targets if the Houston Rockets exercise their right to match the three-year, $46 million offer sheet to Chandler Parsons.

Stephenson, who was considered toxic by the Mavs due to his character issues a couple of months ago, is somewhere on the top tier with Trevor Ariza and Luol Deng, a source told ESPNDallas.com. There is not a consensus opinion among the Dallas decision-makers about the rankings of those three unrestricted free agents.

CSN's Adam Wexler has more on Dallas:

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski also added his two cents:

Updates from Thursday, July 10

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports that a new team is interested in Stephenson:

Updates from Monday, July 7

Chris Broussard of ESPN reports on two new teams that have shown interest in Lance Stephenson: 

Nearly a week after the Indiana Pacers offered talented but controversial guard Lance Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract, the two sides remain far apart on a deal, according to sources close to the situation.

Though his desire is to remain with the Pacers, a disappointed Stephenson began exploring the free-agent market after receiving what he felt was a low-ball offer last Tuesday, sources said.

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.

Broussard later added another team to Stephenson's list of suitors:

Original Text

Shooting guard Lance Stephenson is among the hottest commodities on the NBA's free-agent market, and it appears as though he is very much in play after the Indiana Pacers' initial contract offer failed to blow him away.

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, Stephenson isn't satisfied with what Indiana is offering thus far, so he intends to shop himself around:

Broussard reported more details of the ongoing negotiations:

"Lance and his representatives aren't sure they're going to be able to reach an agreement with the Pacers," a source said. "It's clear they want him back and he wanted to go back, but they may not be able to come to terms."

[...]

While money is a factor, Stephenson will not simply go to the highest bidder, sources said. He wants to go to a team that is either a contender or a competitive up-and-coming club.

The Pacers pulled out all the stops Tuesday by hosting Stephenson and his family at a local theater and surprising him with a movie about his life.

Although Stephenson didn't jump at the first offer sent his way, that doesn't necessarily mean his time in Indiana is done. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported that Stephenson is still very much taking the Pacers' offer under consideration:

The obvious danger in allowing Stephenson to test the market is that some franchise may be willing to offer him a deal he simply can't refuse. If that happens, the Pacers will be left scrambling.

Stephenson is coming off a career season in which he averaged nearly 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game. Few players in the NBA are capable of stuffing the stat sheet quite like him.

While volatile and somewhat of a loose cannon at times, Stephenson is also a gamer. He is a catalyst capable of changing the game on both ends of the floor once he gets locked in, and he definitely adds another dimension to the Pacers that wouldn't be easily replaced.

On top of that, he is quite young at 23 years of age and has plenty of growing left to do as a player and a person.

As much as Indiana wants to keep him, Stephenson may want to stay even more. According to Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star, agent Alberto Ebanks believes the Pacers may represent the best possible situation for his client.

He expects to be in a position with a team to compete for a championship. If he stays with the Pacers, he doesn't have to look very far with the No. 1 team coming out of the East. You want to make sure that there's a good fit. The more I describe what he's looking for, the more that the picture perfect next place for him is right where he is right now. It's just a matter of can we can come to terms with the Pacers. If we can, there's no need to really change something that's been working.

The Pacers seemingly feel the same way, but the two sides have yet to come to an agreement. Stephenson already knows how he fits and what role he'll play in Indiana, which is a positive, but he could be intrigued by other suitors.

Indiana fell apart in the second half of the 2013-14 season and struggled to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. There is no guarantee the Pacers will get that far again despite the relative weakness of the conference. Stephenson may see better championship opportunities elsewhere, which could force Indiana's hand in terms of offering more money.

Losing Stephenson would be a major blow for the Pacers, so they may have to play ball sooner rather than later. Stephenson holds the upper hand in negotiations since he is a highly sought-after asset, which means the Pacers will almost certainly have to up their offer if they truly hope to retain him.

 

Who will Stephenson ultimately sign with?

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