Could Lance Stephenson End Up With the Dallas Mavericks?
By Jay Knodell
Lance Stephenson has entered the rumor mill as the deadline approaches, could he end up with the Dallas Mavericks when all is said and done?
The Los Angeles Clippers, despite holding one of the NBA’s best records at the All-Star break, have been involved in many a rumor as we inch closer to the NBA trade deadline. Unsurprisingly, Doc Rivers and staff are looking for ways to move on from Lance Stephenson, who hasn’t fit in the way Los Angeles had hoped.
The latest rumors out of Clipper-land center around Channing Frye of the Orlando Magic, a stretch-four to fill in while Blake Griffin mends his broken hand and bolster the second unit offensively when Griffin returns.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, a deal is in place to send Frye to Los Angeles in exchange for Stephenson, C.J. Wilcox, and potentially a second round draft selection. Wojnarowski also notes that if such a deal were to be completed, Stephenson would be waived before ever suiting up for the Magic.
The Dallas Mavericks probably won’t be too involved on the trade front, as the team possesses few assets capable of netting an impact player in return, but are likely to be active on the waiver wire in an attempt to strengthen the bench. Kevin Martin and Joe Johnson have been linked to the Mavs in the event either of them are bought out, but could Dallas take a look at Lance as well? Remember, he was almost a Maverick before Chandler Parsons signed his offer sheet from Cuban and co. a couple summer ago.
To be clear, there has been no direct information in regards to Dallas’ interest in Stephenson, and he would come with a certain amount of risk. He has a (fair or not) reputation as a headache in the locker room, and hasn’t produced much since leaving Indiana. We’ve seen all too recently the type of effect a head case can have on the locker room, and the front office would almost certainly prefer either Martin or Johnson.
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But they are trying to add some size to the backcourt, and if Rick Carlisle can reach Stephenson mentally and maximize his talents the way Frank Vogel did with the Pacers, the 25-year old could really help the squad. His averages in Los Angeles are near career-lows across the board, but that has a lot to do with his playing time. His 15.8 minutes a night are his lowest since his second year in the league, but he is shooting a career-best 40% from deep and 49.4% from the floor overall.
When at his best, Stephenson can be a lockdown defender, capable playmaker, and decent rebounder – three traits the Mavericks could really use in a reserve wing. His size and strength would allow Carlisle to employ some interesting small-ball lineups with which they could almost switch everything defensively and be okay. Still, there are better options likely to emerge, and the risk with Stephenson might be too great if he indeed becomes available.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below!
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