Yet that mutual interest has not been enough to take the 23-year-old off the open market. Money, as it often does in these negotiations, has driven a wedge between the player and his most recent employer.
Stephenson declined a five-year, $44 million offer from the Pacers, sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard. That report surfaced on July 2, and neither party has budged since. Both are "far apart on a deal," sources recently told Broussard, with enough distance between them that Stephenson has started exploring other options.
He has plenty of potential landing spots to choose from, as one would expect for a nightly triple-double threat. However, the economic side of his market is cloudy, with questions about his maturity and focus potentially preventing him from collecting the cash his production says he should.
Someone is going to pay Stephenson, but it's hard to say who and how much. He needs a club that can afford his services, but also one with enough offensive chances and defensive structure to maximize his impact.
Combine those elements with a strong locker room built to manage his distractions, and you'll find the free-agency destinations that are ready for "Born Ready."