Lance Stephenson took a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this summer, adding to the team’s wing depth while also allowing them to maintain financial flexibility to re-enter free agency in 2019 with enough cap space to add a player on a maximum contract.
It’s unknown how the Lakers’ gamble will work out, but should Stephenson play well and become an integral part of the team, there is a chance the Lakers decide to keep him around like they did with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season.
However likely or unlikely that scenario is, though, Stephenson has made it clear that he won’t be doing the same thing as Caldwell-Pope did and staying on another one-year deal.
In a 2019 free agency period in which far more teams will have cap space than they did in 2018, Stephenson told Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports that he’ll be looking for some long-term security on his next contract:
Q: We know few players got long-time deals this summer. Is that something moving forward that would interest you after this year?
A: Oh yeah, I’m definitely looking for a long-term contract after this. I’m trying to find a home. I’ve been moving a lot and to different teams. [Note: Seven teams in five years.] I’m trying to find a place where I can actually call home and feel comfortable, and actually get a nice place and stay there for a while.
At 27 years old, a long-term deal is theoretically possible for Stephenson if he’s able to break out of a four-year slump since leaving Indiana for the first time and contribute to winning basketball with the Lakers.
However, Stephenson doing so is also not the most likely scenario, as the Lakers have an incredibly crowded wing rotation that could just as likely see Stephenson riding the bench as it could see him break out.
If Stephenson is able to exceed expectations and make a big impact on any success the Lakers have, then a long-term offer could be in the cards. Still, that’s just is probably not the way this is most likely to play out.
However, Stephenson going to have a chance to market himself on one of the most hyper-scrutinized teams in the NBA, and if his Twitter feed is any indication, he was born ready:
Lance Stephenson 2018 Highlights pic.twitter.com/w9zEng2Lps— Lance Stephenson (@StephensonLance) July 23, 2018
An NBA player has never been more relatable than by tweeting out their own highlights at 12:38 in the morning. Incredible stuff. At the very least, Stephenson has a promising long-term future in social media management if he can’t find the type of basketball deal he’s looking for next summer.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.