Los Angeles Lakers Must Avoid Lance Stephenson At All Costs

By Joseph Crevier
Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Carr-Getty Images

A potential hot commodity in the 2014 NBA Free Agency class will be none other than ‘Born Ready,’ Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers. Over the past couple of seasons, Stephenson has transformed himself from a no-name benchwarmer throwing up the choke sign to LeBron James, to an All-Star caliber player renowned for his grit and toughness.

Of course, like many others, Stephenson does have his flaws. He is not always the easiest player to coach nor the easiest teammate to get play alongside. Often times Stephenson becomes much too aggressive on both the offensive side and defensive sides of the floor, resulting in anything from technical fouls to flagrant fouls to wasted possessions. Yes, he has calmed down a bit in recent years partly due to the fact that The Legend, Larry Bird has taken a strong leadership position over the Pacers in addition to head coach, Frank Vogel. However, the temper seems to flare up much too often for any team to throw a long, lucrative contract at him.

If Stephenson still fails to control his emotions under the watch of Bird and Vogel, switching teams can only lead to worse situations. Therefore, the Los Angeles Lakers must avoid even entertaining the thought of offering Stephenson a contract because they can in no way afford to spend without getting equal production back. The Lakers’ goal is to compete for a championship as soon as possible; when acting sane, Stephenson can be a vital piece to a championship puzzle. On the other hand, if he is thrown into a place like Los Angeles, where he is unfamiliar with the personnel, coaches and city it just spells doom.

Los Angeles is much better off spending the money to acquire a cheaper, role player who easily adapts to any situation. Names such as Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza seem to fit that persona. Neither player has ever had issues with their tempers or emotions getting the best of them, so there are better options out there. Personally, I would say Stephenson is best off re-signing in Indiana because if he leaves and acts insane, he could be out of the league sooner than expected.

Joseph Crevier covers the Los Angeles Lakers for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RealJoeCrev, and Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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