As LeBron James has agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the rest of the roster is quickly beginning to take shape. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has re-signed on a one-year deal and now another guard looks to be joining as well.
The Lakers had reportedly contacted Lance Stephenson in the early stages of free agency as they checked all boxes and possibilities before any stars agreed to come their way. Now that James is in tow, one of his biggest rivals is on the way as well.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports, Stephenson has agreed to join the Lakers:
Lance Stephenson has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2018
The deal is reportedly a one-year deal worth $4.5 million according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic so once again the Lakers are keeping their cap space open for next summer when they are likely to have salary cap space once again depending on their other moves this offseason.
Stephenson and James being teammates after all they have been through comes as a shock to many, but this isn’t unprecedented. Michael Jordan teamed with Dennis Rodman late in his career after years of battling while Rodman was a member of the ‘Bad Boy’ Detroit Pistons.
More recently, Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes each had issues with Kobe Bryant before ultimately joining the Lakers. This is no different and it is likely that James, much like Kobe, has a good amount of respect to those players that challenge and push him the most.
As far as impact on the Lakers, Stephenson certainly checks some boxes. While not a great shooter, he brings energy, toughness, and playmaking while also being a very good perimeter defender capable of switching and guarding multiple positions.
Free agency is still early, but the Lakers are quickly re-making their roster as they look to challenge the NBA’s elite.
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