The Los Angeles Lakers are not slowing down their roster additions and will add Lance Stephenson to their team, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Lance Stephenson has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2018
Chris Haynes of ESPN reports that Stephenson’s contract will be for one year and $4.5 million.
Stephenson is simply the latest addition on a day the Lakers already added LeBron James and re-signed Kenatavious Caldwell-Pope, and while he’ll be far-less heralded and provoke less excitement than those two, he’s still a worthy addition to the roster for the money the Lakers are paying him.
Stephenson hasn’t been the same since leaving the Indiana Pacers for the Charlotte Hornets, but he still has a reputation for being a capable defender and, possibly more importantly, a familiarity with Lakers assistant Brian Shaw and the respect of LeBron James from the two’s playoff battles years ago:
That photo is an admittedly hilarious meme, but it is notable for what it represents: a player with the balls to go up against LeBron at the peak of his powers, something all-time greats almost always respect and value.
LeBron’s arrival was always going to ensure roster changeover, with veterans that he respects added to this young Lakers squad, and this is an example why. Players value proven and playoff tested veterans more than fans do, so it’s no surprise that the Lakers are starting to head down that route and bring in guys that The King feels are ready to go to war with him.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton has a solid history with reclamation projects in his time as a coach, with Nick Young serving as the most obvious example, and if he (and LeBron) can work their magic on Stephenson, the Lakers might get a bargain.