All things considered, Lance Stephenson was fine for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Expectations were never going to be very high for him seeing as he probably shouldn’t have been signed in the first place, and he lived up to those minimal hopes.
Apparently, he wants to stay in the NBA and has been holding workouts in Las Vegas while all 30 teams have representatives in the city, and new Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been one of those in attendance for Stephenson’s workouts:
Free agent Lance Stephenson is working out here at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. A number of NBA teams have been through to see him this week. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, who coached Lance in Indiana, was here earlier. pic.twitter.com/s8J0Hdk4Gc— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 10, 2019
Mareese Speights last played in the NBA during the 2017-18 season with the Orlando Magic. He’s vying for a return to the league and, just as they did with Monta Ellis and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Lakers checked in just in case he has anything left in the tank:
Marreese Speights held a free-agent workout for NBA teams today in Las Vegas. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was in attendance along with staffers from several other teams. Last year in China, Speights averaged 22.7 points, 7.5 boards and 3.1 threes (while shooting 36% from deep).— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 10, 2019
It’s unlikely either Stephenson or Speights make their way onto the Lakers roster, but as I wrote with Ellis and Stoudemire, due diligence doesn’t hurt anyone.
The Lakers currently have 14 players either under contract or soon-to-be-signed (Talen Horton-Tucker has yet to sign his rookie deal). They probably have too many guards on the team, so Ellis’ already slim chances are likely out the window. Same goes for the bigs. Sorry, Amar’e.
A position of some need is at the wing, but they need more of a defensive minded small forward, so Stephenson doesn’t really make much sense. He didn’t last year, either, but a lot more thought was put into this roster, so I don’t really see them bringing him back — unless some in the organization just can’t live without his air guitar celebration.
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers use this last roster spot, though.
In years past (granted, under a completely different regime), the Lakers would keep that roster spot open just in case someone became available via buyout or in order to be more flexible in trades, but this particular buyout market might be too fruitful to continue that line of thinking.
As it stands right now, Kyle Korver and Shaun Livingston are already on the market, and could soon be joined by Andre Iguodala, JR Smith and any number of guys who signed bloated deals in the summer of 2016.
So, while Vogel is there showing support of Stephenson, it’s probably far more likely the Lakers find a way to open up a roster spot than use one on him. To an even greater extent, the same goes for Speights. Still, as always, checking in to see what they have in the tank doesn’t hurt.