Report: Lance Stephenson’s camp viewed five-year offer from Pacers as ‘an albatross’

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The initial offer from the Pacers to Lance Stephenson in free agency was for five years and $44 million guaranteed, which may not seem too bad on the surface.

But for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t even under consideration by Stephenson’s camp, and he rejected it immediately before looking elsewhere.

Indiana continued to sign other players while waiting on Stephenson, but those moves only made it less likely he’d be back, considering that precious salary cap dollars were being taken away by those deals, and so any new offer that the Pacers came up with would have had to have been for less than the initial one, barring a gutting of some of the team’s additional players.

Even setting all of that aside, the original offer was the primary issue.

From Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:

The agreement with the Hornets comes after the Pacers had offered “a couple of options” to Stephenson, according to his agent Alberto Ebanks. One option involved more up front money but less overall and the higher of the offers was a five-year deal – an albatross in the view of Stephenson’s camp – worth $44 million.

“It wasn’t really about the money,” Ebanks said. “(But) If it’s going to be too little then don’t let it be too long because you’re losing on both ends. …

“We’re betting on Lance and not against Lance. So if he had to take a little bit less, he was willing to do that. But you don’t want to take a little bit less and play your entire basketball prime, the next five years for a lower amount of money. If you’re going to take less, take less for a less amount of time then hit reset. … and enter the free agent market.”

For that last reason, the five-year deal was completely one-sided in favor of the Pacers.

Stephenson has certainly had his issues, most recently being a distraction more than he was an asset against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and doing so on more than one occasion. But overall, he made a leap from a production standpoint last year, and was instrumental in helping Indiana get off to a strong start, especially during the first half of the season.

A five-year contract that paid him less than $9 million per year in total (remember, guys like Avery Bradley are getting $8 million per year in this market) was a semi-slap in the face. It was apparently treated as one by Stephenson’s team, who didn’t even give the Pacers a chance to match the offer that was ultimately accepted in Charlotte.

Aging Pelicans’ owner couldn’t remember Anthony Davis’ name in deposition

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Tom Benson, the now 90-year-old owner of the New Orleans Pelicans and the NFL’s Saints, a few years back changed around the succession of control of the team after his passing — his wife Gayle will take control. Rita Benson LeBlanc, Benson’s granddaughter and former handpicked successor, sued saying Benson had been manipulated. After meeting privately with Benson, a judge ruled that while Benson suffered some “cognitive impairment” he was capable of making his own decisions and that Gayle remained the successor.

Benson has been sued multiple times since then, including by former Saints employee Rodney Henry, and the then-89-year-old Benson was deposed in that case last year.

Someone broke the gag order and sent a copy of the deposition to The Advocate of New Orleans, and it shows that Benson’s mental acuity is fading. He couldn’t remember who Anthony Davis was by name.

During another set of questions, apparently aimed at establishing how close Benson and Henry had been, Benson was shown a photo of the two men with Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

“Who is this?” Williams asked.

“It’s Rodney and a basketball player,” Benson said. “Oh, hell, I forget his name. Let me — he’s a great player for us. Tell me his name, and I will tell you yes or no.”

When asked “is it Anthony Davis,” Benson said yes. The man is 90, I’m not sure that we should expect much. He had the foresight to bring in people to run his businesses — including his sports teams — and set up a line of succession for when he does pass. Smart moves.

Would Benson’s mental state impact potential changes coming to the Pelicans? Probably not. New Orleans’ GM Dell Demps bet big on going big in a league trending smaller, pairing Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. If that doesn’t work out, plenty of people around the league expect a house cleaning on the basketball side with the Pelicans. Benson’s mental state, whatever it may be, does not impact that.

The deposition leak came from an anonymous source (and anonymous email account, the paper verified the document before publishing). Who leaked it? It may be nearly impossible to find out, but only one side benefits from all this becoming public. And it’s not Benson.

K.J. McDaniels signs with Raptors for camp, can he make roster?

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A few years back in Philadelphia, the athletic K.J. McDaniels was a highlight factory and looked like a guy who could develop into a role player on the wing in the NBA.

Except, he never actually developed. Houston gave him a chance (three years at a total of $10 million), and it didn’t work out, then last season Brooklyn had him for 20 games, but they decided to move on.

Now Toronto is going to give him a chance, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

McDaniels’ agent later confirmed the news. This is a training camp, make-good contract for McDaniels. But unlike a lot of those contracts being handed out around this time, there is space on the Raptors roster for a player or two.

McDaniels will compete with Alfonzo McKinnie, Kennedy Meeks, and Kyle Wiltjer for one of the final roster spots in Toronto. Of that group, I’d most likely want to keep McDaniels because of the shot blocking and his potential — but his outside shot has to improve.

The Raptors can carry 15 on the roster and very possibly will until at least Jan. 10, which is the date these partially guaranteed deals become fully guaranteed for the season. Toronto is flirting with the tax line, and ownership is not going to want to pay the tax for this team, so if they do carry 15 they likely will cut it to 14 by that date.

Watch James Harden do the #DriveByDunkChallenge from a speed boat (VIDEO)

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The #DriveByDunkChallenge has been a fun distraction this summer. If you don’t know what it is, it essentially involves NBA players jumping out of their cars to dunk on regular folks on community basketball hoops.

Players like Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown have led the charge in the social media video fad, and now it appears that Houston Rockets guard James Harden is setting a new trend.

That trend? Doing the #DriveByDunkChallenge from dang boat.

Yup, seriously.

Via Twitter:

I can’t think of anything more baller than dunking on somebody from a speed boat, so congrats to Harden for winning the NBA offseason.

Photoshop no more: here’s Gordon Hayward in a Boston Celtics uniform (PHOTO)

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I suppose it will take some time to get used to seeing Gordon Hayward in a Boston Celtics jersey. This photo is the first step on that journey.

In a photo posted to Hayward’s Instagram on Wednesday, many of us got our first look at the former Utah Jazz forward in his new digs.

Specifically, the new Celtics Nike jersey in green with the GE patch on the left shoulder.

Via Instagram:

🍀🔥

A post shared by @gdhayward on

There are still some serious doubts about whether the Celtics will be able to unseat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, but perhaps they won’t need to wait for long. Rumors are starting to trickle in about LeBron James leaving Ohio, so maybe by the time we are used to seeing Hayward in Celtics green next season they will have less competition out east.