Mavs Mulligan: Want Another Shot At Lance?
The Dallas Mavericks spent most of last year looking at Lance Stephenson as somebody they wouldn't touch "with a 10-foot pole.''
And then the summer progressed. And the pole got shorter.
This process dates back to May 6, when DB.com first wrote the story using that "10-foot-pole'' phrase. After that, the controversial guard turned down a five-year, $44-million contract from Indy, and then found himself "low-balled'' over the course of the summer.
It's been reported (by ESPN) that Dallas made him a firm offer; that's untrue, as everything was on hold that weekend as the Mavs waited on Houston's Chandler Parsons decision. But during that weekend, Mavs owner Mark Cuban told DB.com that Stephenson is "on our radar.'' Then Parsons became a Mav, and that was that.
Should Stephenson be on Dallas' radar again?
The 6-5 Stephenson averaged a career-high 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. He led the league in triple-doubles. He is a defensive stopper. And at 23, he's just a kid.
But he's off to an awful start in Charlotte, where the Hornets are 4-14, and where he isn't proving to be a fit. The respected Zack Lowe writes, "The Hornets have been aggressive making trade calls, according to sources across the league.''
If and when Charlotte is truly ready to un-do this thing -- it can't swap Lance until Dec. 15 -- its challenges will be in finding a team who sees Lance as a chemistry fit. A trade-match fit? Heck, that's easy; we do the quick math to tell us Dallas could simply offer Jameer and Felton for Stephenson and Pargo, and voila, Lance is off Charlotte's hands.
I get word that Charlotte's phone calls are being answered. Instead of him getting low-balled, it'll be the Hornets who are in that position for now; there's no reason to over-bid this early in the process. But I can tell you that Dallas is confident that the cost and risk of a mulligan is not worth it here -- no, not even if the cost was actually as low as Jameer and Felton.
Parsons isn't perfect, but he fits here. The Mavs are convinced of that, convinced that their $46-mil bid was a winning move.
Lance isn't perfect, and he doesn't fit here. The Mavs are convinced of that, too, convinced that a bullet was dodged when the 10-foot pole needed no more shortening.
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