If the Pacers let Lance Stephenson leave, he might find an unforgiving market in free agency.
Plenty of question exist about Stephenson’s maturity and focus, and without question, some teams are turned off by his antics.
But at least a couple – and there could be overlap with the teams downgrading Stephenson due to his behavior – are interested in the guard. The Lakers and Mavericks view Stephenson as a fallback option if they don’t sign LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.
Don’t leave out the Celtics among possible suitors.
Chris Broussard of ESPN:
The Celtics can offer just the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,305,000 starting,$22,652,350 over four years). That falls well short of Indiana’s reported five-year, $44 million offer.
However, the unguaranteed deals of Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey,Chris Johnson andChris Babb make it much easier for Boston to build a compelling sign-and-trade package. Obviously, those players alone won’t fetch much, but they make a larger deal including draft picks and/young players financially feasible.
I wouldn’t get too concerned with the money, though.
The Celtics already have Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in their backcourt, and they just drafted guards Marcus Smart and James Young in the first round. If Boston is in serious contention for Stephenson, more moves are likely in the pipeline.
This is probably a case of Danny Ainge wanting to insert himself into the biggest happenings. Maybe that’s by engineering a complex of transactions that lands Stephenson in Boston – or maybe it’s just leaking the Celtics’ interest when they don’t have the room to make a serious play.