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Pacers Links: NBA trade season is open, Pacers host Lakers

The unofficial start of the NBA trade season begins on Monday which should push the Pacers into numerous rumored negotiations. Meanwhile, the team has to deal with the Lakers on the court at the Fieldhouse.

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade season begins Monday as Dec. 15 marks the date when most free agents signed in the offseason are eligible to be traded. That includes former Pacers guard Lance Stephenson who is already involved in plenty of trade chatter.

Unless the Hornets throw in draft picks and other stocking stuffers to sweeten the deal it seems unlikely the Pacers would agree to anything but a lopsided deal. This whole thing is on Larry Bird now, though. If he's willing to deal with Lance for the favorable contract and other goodies it will be a move for the future in which they have a worst-case scenario of Lance not living up to his end of the bargain for only one more season since his deal carries a team option for year three.

The Pacers have shown no desire to have Lance around but as Charlotte let's his value continue to plummet, the leverage the Pacers have may force Charlotte to send Bird a deal he can't refuse.

The current Pacers host the Lakers tonight which gives the Blue and Gold a shot at ending their eight-game losing streak. The trade season adds another variable to the mix as Frank Vogel and the team try to keep things together. No doubt, there will be plenty of names involved in rumors since the Pacers have some favorable contracts and veteran players who may could be valuable to bolster a title contender. So blocking out the noise and focusing on the night-to-night job at hand will be a little more difficult.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Lakers | Indiana Pacers

Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on NBA's all-time scoring list - LA Times

The Lakers Threw Kobe Bryant A Sad Little Plane Party

Pacers Trying to Keep Good Spirits During Bad Times | Indiana Pacers

Charlotte Hornets explore Lance Stephenson trade - ESPN

Sources: Hornets targeting Nets, Pacers to unload Lance Stephenson - Yahoo Sports

Lakers-Pacers Preview - AP

Report: Pacers show interest in Lance Stephenson reunion

Pacers on skid: 'We're just trying to get that one win'

Wouldn’t it be fun if Lance Stephenson returned to the Indiana Pacers? | For The Win