The Los Angeles Clippers are nearing an agreement on a deal to acquire Orlando's Channing Frye, league sources tell Yahoo, and Lance Stephenson would reportedly be included in the swap ... after which, Orlando would dump Stephenson.
A natural question: The Mavs once flirted with the idea of Lance Stephenson as a contingency backup to the 2014 pursuit of Chandler Parsons. Desiring to add depth to the 2016 stretch-run roster, would they examine Stephenson again?
"No,'' a source flatly tells DB.com.
Dallas entered free agency that summer shopping with "10 viable options" that would be regarded as successful. And GM Donnie Nelson said then, 'We've got a lot of greaseboards with lots of different scenarios.' There was immediate clarity on one of those scenarios: Chandler Parsons, who Dallas coveted and won when the Rockets balked on matching the Mavs offer; and Lance Stephenson, the oft-kilter then-Pacers standout who moved up Dallas' list of desireables as the Mavs became desperate for help.
But now? There is not that much desperation.
Back then, Mavs owner Mark Cuban went on the record with DB.com to say, "We're exploring a lot of options, a lot of different people. Hopefully the Rockets won't match and we'll have Chandler and that changes what we're able to do, but Lance is certainly on the list."
We know what happened. Parsons came to Dallas, Stephenson became "much-traveled'' and Stephenson's agent made noise about his he and Dallas "had a verbal agreement.''
In reality, it was a "what-if'' arrangement. And it's long forgotten now.
A few years ago, Lance foolishly turned down a five-year, $44-million contract from Indy, thinking he was being "low-balled.'' Now he's a JAG, most famous for weirdly blowing in LeBron's ear. Chris Broussard of ESPN did the agent's bidding back then by blowing up a Dallas connection, but really, this was only about Lance being "on the (Mavs') radar,'' a source told us then. "He's always been on the radar.''
The 6-5 Stephenson averaged a career-high 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists two seasons ago. He led the league in triple-doubles. He was a defensive stopper. And at 23, he was just a kid. ... who made just $930,000 that season.
Now? "No Mavs interest,'' a source close to the situation tells DB.com, and yeah, you can assume that the delicate chemistry of this locker room is a reason. Back in Indy, there was a publicized conflict between Stephenson and Evan Turner. We are told there were conflicts between Stephenson and star Paul George. A conflict may have existed between Stephenson and Larry Bird's front office.
The Mavs didn't want to bend then, for a player who was impactful. Today, Stephenson is averaging 4.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He's a non-factor on a dysfunctional Clippers team ... and he's a non-factor to Dallas if he indeed gets traded and then hits the streets.