As has been mentioned a million times in the past few months, the Pacers have around $8 million to offer Lance Stephenson in the first year of a new deal. So it is no surprise to see reported by ESPN, that the Pacers have a 5-year, $44 million deal as their initial offer to the dynamic guard.
The Pacers' main leverage in negotiations is the ability to include a fifth year in the contract, which of course adds to the risk for the Pacers if Lance remains a wild card on and/or off the court and for whatever reason, doesn't handle the business end of a big contract as expected.
The offer is right in the wheelhouse of fairness currently, allowing the Pacers to keep the band together and still improve around the edges. That improvement may require dumping Luis Scola's salary while also utilizing the Mid-level exception with checks in over $5 million..
If the Pacers sweeten the deal for Lance, they would need to dump more salary, but then you're backfilling with more minimum salary players on a team that obviously needs a little help off the bench.
According to Chris Broussard, Lance's reps aren't sure they can reach a deal despite the interest from both sides to remain together. If not, a few glamorous suitors may be able to sway Stephenson with more money.
Several clubs have reached out to Stephenson's agent, Alberto Ebanks, to register their interest, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, according to sources.
Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets also have interest in Stephenson.
The story goes on to say, Stephenson wants to continue playing for a contender and won't just chase the highest bidder. The three teams above qualify considering the Lakers will always be a desired destination and can rebuild quicker because of it. If nothing else, the Bulls and Hornets can drive up the price and try to push the Pacers to spend more of their cap on Stephenson, in essence forcing them to at best stay level or at worst, take a step back with a weaker supporting cast.
All along with regard to Lance, Larry Bird has stated he has a number and the team is unlikely to waver from said number. We should soon find out if $44 is the number or not.
We're just starting day two of the Lance watch, so stay tuned for denials and more rumors of interest and big offers.
Check out more links from the free agent frenzy:
NBA free agency 2014: Track all the summer's signings and trades here - SBNation.com
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers at impasse over contract - ESPN
Kellogg to Leave Pacers | Indiana Pacers
If Stephenson bolts, what are Pacers’ options? - 1070 The Fan
Celtics, Gordon Hayward share mutual interest - CBSSports.com
Pacers To Conduct Rookie/Free Agent Camp | Indiana Pacers
Good morning, NBA free agency is off to a spendy start - SBNation.com
Kyrie Irving accedes to the system, agrees to a contract extension in Cleveland | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo Sports
Eight Questions for the NBA’s Silly Season " Grantland
NBA free agency: Indiana Pacers begin effort to pull Lance Stephenson off market
Pacers let Evan Turner become unrestricted free agent - USA Today
Midnight madness arrives for Pacers, Stephenson - 1070 The Fan
Bulls roll out red carpet for meeting with Anthony | CSN Chicago
Pau Gasol speaks to Heat president Pat Riley - Yahoo Sports
Warriors reach agreement with guard Shaun Livingston - Yahoo Sports
Patty Mills injury: Free-agent guard out 7 months with torn rotator cuff - SBNation.com