Reports: Pelicans reach contract deal with Lance Stephenson

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The New Orleans Pelicans are working to put better — and, hopefully, healthier — talent around Anthony Davis this season.

Can Lance Stephenson be a part of that? He’s going to get a shot, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Other reporters have confirmed there is a deal.

This is likely not a guaranteed contract — the Pelicans have 15 players guaranteed contracts, the regular season limit. Meaning if the Pelicans decide to keep Stephenson they have to cut someone and pay that guy his full season’s salary. New Orleans also already has partially guaranteed deals out there for Chris Copeland, Robert Sacre, and Shawn Dawson.

Maybe Stephenson can get in the door if he can prove he will improve the Pelicans shot creation on the perimeter, a primary goal of the team’s offseason (and something Stephenson can do). They already drafted Buddy Hield, and signed E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, and Solomon Hill. Tyreke Evans also is in that mix, if he can get healthy.

This is a smart roll of the dice by the Pelicans. Stephenson is just 25. And he’s shown flashes of offensive talent — in the playoffs last season where he averaged 13 points a game (with a 56.3 true shooting percentage), as he did with the Pacers two years ago.

However, he was a mess on the court and wasn’t a favorite teammate in Charlotte or with the Los Angeles Clippers in the past couple of years (and notice Memphis didn’t bring him back).

If Stephenson proves he can help on the court and not distract off it, the Pelicans get a steal. If not, they only lose a little. That’s a good bet by the team.