It seems like ages ago that Lance Stephenson was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was on the squad during LeBron James’ first year with the team, which was only two years ago. That team disappointed and ended up missing the playoffs. After the season, Stephenson couldn’t land on another NBA team.
He made his way to the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. Last season with the Leopards, Stephenson averaged 26.7 points a game and won a title. Now that he’s done what he can overseas, the veteran guard is looking to return to the NBA, according to David Aldridge.
Veteran wing Lance Stephenson has been working out in New York the last few weeks in hopes of landing with a team. The 30-year-old last played with the Lakers in 2019. Has worked diligently on his range-and you don’t forget how to defend like Born Ready can.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) April 1, 2021
This isn’t the first time Stephenson has tried to get back in the NBA. He attempted to do so last season shortly before the lockdown but had no luck. He averaged 8.6 points a game over nine NBA seasons and has played for seven teams. His most notable time was with the Indiana Pacers. He had two separate stints with the team, playing in 298 games for them.
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Could Lakers Take a Look at Stephenson?
Luckily for Stephenson, the Lakers happen to be in the market for a three-and-D wing. He’s not elite at either but could certainly be worse. As far as 3-point shooting goes, he was actually pretty solid for Los Angeles in his last NBA season. He was hitting 37.1% of his threes on 2.9 attempts a game.
Those aren’t world-beating numbers but it is an improvement over the Lakers’ current 34.8% from three as a team. That said, it’s not going to happen. Los Angeles already went down that path and could’ve signed him again at any point over the last two years. The Lakers are already pretty set right now and it’s not likely they find a true impact player in free agency now. Adding a guy like Stephenson would just bring another strong personality to a team that’s got plenty of them.
Will Stephenson Get Another Shot?
Though the Lakers probably won’t take a look, it’s entirely possible another team will. Stephenson was a key part of some really good Pacers teams when he was playing with Paul George. George and he actually have a really strong relationship, according to the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps the All-Star will convince the Clippers that a Stephenson addition would be a good move. The two certainly played well together.
Other than the Clippers, it’s unlikely we’ll see a team sign him this season. It’s an unorthodox year and adding a guy who hasn’t played an NBA game in two years isn’t ideal. It would be one thing if Stephenson had All-Star upside, but he doesn’t. At only 30-years-old, he should have plenty of juice left in the tank. His best bet will be to try his luck this offseason. He can get some workouts in and teams will get a better idea of what he can still do. He’s not a bad player and it’s easy to see him back in the NBA down the road.