November 27, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) battles Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) for a rebound at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers May No Longer Be Threat to Take Lance Stephenson

Feb 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers center Paul Gasol (16) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Los Angeles 118-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pacers and their fans anxiously hope for Lance Stephenson’s return, it appears that one major suitor has fallen out of the running. Eric Pincus – the man you should follow for the best, most diligent cap situation updates – says the Los Angeles Lakers no longer have the cap space necessary to beat the Pacers’ 5-year, $44 million offer.

The Lakers have used their once copious cap room on Jordan Hill, Nick Young, and a really interesting move that landed Jeremy Lin and a first round pick from Houston.

A week ago, L.A. reportedly offered Carmelo Anthony a 4-year, $95 million contract and were considered to have a real chance at landing the Knick star. Stephenson was assumed to be a potential fall back position for them. Yesterday’s actions seem to indicate the Lakers may never have been seriously interested in Born Ready.

There remain plenty of sharks circling, though, and the chances that someone outbid the Pacers for Lance’s services remain high. Several teams have either the available cap space or the means to create the cap space to make a serious run at Stephenson. Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Miami could all enter the bidding, if their other plans do not come to fruition. For teams with room, it’s simply a question of will.

For now, Stephenson appears to be beneath fellow wings Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza on people’s wish list. It is telling – and possibly troubling – that Chandler Parson and Gordon Hayward have signed offer sheets at almost twice the deal the Pacers put in front of Lance. This is cause for concern for both the Pacers and Stephenson’s team. But, that doesn’t mean the big offers won’t be coming. Everything has been swallowed up by the LeBron James situation, and Lance joins Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe as players whose lack of rumors belie their almost certain big paydays to come.

The Lakers have seemingly dropped out of the bidding. Charlotte and Dallas could, if Utah and Houston elect not to match the offer sheets sitting on their desks. Pau Gasol going to the Bulls could remove another candidate. Things could change by the hour.

But, for now, we wait.

More than anything, it’s important to remember that even in the age of instant information, we still cannot see the whole field. What we can imagine is but a fraction of what the men and women in the Pacer and other NBA Front Offices are sifting through and the obstacles they must overcome to make their teams better.

 

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