Updated 08:44 AM EST, Tue, Jan 19, 2021

NBA Trade Rumors 2014: Lance Stephenson Eyed By Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers & Charlotte Bobcats

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Indiana Pacers swingman Lance Stephenson has reportedly piqued the interest of several teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Bobcats emerging the front runners for the incoming free agent, a league insider disclosed on Friday.

Stephenson is currently having a breakout season, averaging 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game for the Pacers. He's expected to become a restricted free agent after this season, and several teams have already expressed their interest in signing the do-it-all guard.

According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, the Lakers, Bulls and the Bobcats - the latter which are expected to change their franchise name to the Hornets next season - are potential suitors for Stephenson this coming summer.

"The Lakers, Bulls and Bobcats are among the teams who are planning to target Lance Stephenson in free agency this summer, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News," Hoops Rumors reported.

Many analysts predicted the Pacers will have a hard time locking up Stephenson beyond the 2013-14 season because of Stephenson's "projected eight-figure value" in the free agency period and the franchise's unwillingness to pay luxury tax.

"Deveney hears from a GM who expects Stephenson to draw offers with an eight-figure starting salary. Other NBA executives pegged his annual value at between $7-9MM in December, but his continued strong play this season may be boosting his value," the site added.

Analysts think Stephenson's strong play is both good and bad for the Pacers. It's good because the guard is becoming one of their key cogs this regular season and he could be an X-factor in the postseason. On the other hand, Stephenson's value is also increasing as he continues to improve his game.

"Stephenson has expressed a desire on multiple occasions to re-sign with the Pacers, who've signaled that they're prepared to offer him a sizable contract. It'll be a tight squeeze to fit such a deal onto the payroll, given Indiana's reluctance to pay the luxury tax. Deveney examines the variables and suggests the Pacers would have to trade away other salaries to pay Stephenson at market value," Hoops Rumors stated.

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