The Dallas Mavericks were relatively silent in free agency this year, even though they seemed to be in the market for another playmaker. They held a workout on Sept. 2 for veteran guards Monta Ellis, Isaiah Thomas, and Lance Stephenson. None of these players was the Mavericks' first choice, and the thought of three older veterans trying to make an NBA comeback being the team's only options drives Mavericks fans crazy.
Ellis is probably the biggest longshot in the group. He is 35 and hasn't played in an NBA game since 2017. The 6'3 guard is a former fan favorite, and it would be nostalgic seeing him on the Mavs again. Realistically though, he's probably the oddest fit of the bunch, and it is difficult to see him as beneficial to the team's needs.
Isaiah Thomas is 32 and has spent parts of the last two seasons on the Pelicans and Wizards for a combined 43 games. Thomas is probably the leading candidate to sign after Shams Charania reported that Thomas was "in great shape", but his size and injury history make him a massive defensive liability. Thomas has averaged 11.6 points per game on 36.5 percent shooting from the field since his hip injury. His regression post-injury has been massive, and IT's offense no longer makes up for his poor defense.
Why the Dallas Mavericks should sign Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson hasn't played in the NBA since the 2018-2019 season, but he still adds the most value out of the three players that worked out for the Mavs on Sept. 2. The 6'6 wing gained a reputation as being puerile and almost a bit foolish at times, but he still does some very positive things.
Stephenson can be an irritant to opposing teams because he is an extremely tough and hard-nosed competitor. He spent entire series annoying LeBron James starting in 2013, and it showed Stephenson is not afraid of competition.
The assist numbers don't jump off the screen, but he is a very willing and skilled passer. People forget how effective Stephenson was as a primary ball-handler off the bench in his first stint with the Pacers. He has also improved as a spot-up shooter raising his 3-point percentage to 37.1 percent in his most recent NBA season.
Stephenson would most likely be on a team-friendly deal. His size and ability to play multiple positions enable the Mavericks to still get that true playmaking guard like a Goran Dragic or whoever may be available. Stephenson could provide a spark off the bench, and with the streaky nature his points come in, he can be put in and galvanize runs.
The Dallas Mavericks still need to add a natural secondary playmaker to win, but Lance Stephenson would be a small step to improving this team. Energy and glue guys like Stephenson will always show their importance and push teams through the grind of an 82-game season and the pressure that comes with a playoff series.