While the NBA season may not be complete, that isn’t stopping teams who aren’t playing anymore from evaluating upcoming free agents. The Detroit Pistons, as well as all the teams not in Miami and San Antonio are evaluating the talent that will soon be available, and one of the names near the top of the list is no doubt Lance Stephenson.
Zach Lowe of Grantland lists Detroit as one of the most likely destinations for Stephenson (Outside of Indiana) and we here at SM101 definitely see the possibility. The Pistons will have approximately 12 million dollars of cap space this off-season, so money wouldn’t be an issue, but the Pistons would probably have to overpay to bring Stephenson in. The Pacers are hoping to bring Stephenson back as cheaply as possible, so the decision will be up to Lance. Will he take a discounted rate to stay in Indiana, or move on seeking dollar signs? The problem for the Pistons is they surely won’t be the only team interested in the 23-year-old lightning rod, and a bidding war could ensue. Stephenson could use this to his advantage to snag a huge pay day of over 10 million a year, and some would argue he’s worth it. Stephenson is just starting to emerge, and has plenty of time to grow. Locking him up at such a young age could prove to be a worthy investment, but at 10 million a year, the Pistons would have to get creative with the cap to do much more maneuvering with the roster.
There is no doubt Stephenson could fit in with the Pistons on the wing. The Pistons are in dire need of talented players at the shooting guard, and small forward positions, and realistically Stephenson could play either spot. He has the skill set for either position, and has showed he can guard both spots defensively. He loves to play with the ball in his hands, and would take some of the heat off of Brandon Jennings in terms of decision-making. His 4.6 assists per night this past season show he’s a willing passer, and often makes the right basketball decision. Stephenson could also be a big boost to the second unit, and his 13.8 points per night would likely climb even higher in Detroit. The fit is right from a talent standpoint.
Although another question mark with Stephenson are his antics, on and off the court. Stephenson has gotten himself in a little bit of hot water this post-season. He unsuccessfully tried to get into Lebron James head off the court, then took it as far as to blow in Lebron’s ear on the court. Both were national stories that brought unnecessary, and negative attention to Stephenson, and neither worked as Miami moved past the Pacers in six games. He is certainly no stranger to the spotlight, as he is constantly flopping on the court, and also known for his showy moves on the offensive end. Stephenson is who he is, and it seems there is no changing him. The Pistons will need to decide if they want a colorful personality like Stephenson in the locker room, or if they want to spare themselves the headache.Basketball, Brandon Jennings, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Lance Stephenson, Lebron James, NBA, Stan Van Gundy