csnFrom a roster standpoint, there is no obvious reason why the Wizards would target this player. Then again, in terms of the realistic high-end free agent options, 2014 isn't a deep class at this point (the obvious clarification comes should Miami Heat's Big 3 entering the mix). If Washington wants to make some serious noise - and hurt a direct competitor in the process -, then targeting a certain explosive and enigmatic wing threat suddenly has merit. Adding an impulsive element to the locker room might not.
Free agent: SG Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers. Restricted.
2013-14 salary: $981,349
Vitals: 6'5", 210 pounds. 23 years old.
Career averages: 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 46.7% FG, 32.5% 3FG. Last season: 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 49.1% FG, 35.2% 3FG
The fit: Stephenson played at an All-Star level during the first half of the season and occasionally at such heights during the remainder of the season. His all-court game makes "Born Ready" a nightly triple-double threat. The rising fifth-year guard's bizarre antics make him a nightly highlight possibility for all the wrong reasons. Stephenson stepped up his shooting and scoring knack this past season. At times he carried the Pacers when others faded away. At times he appeared to drive all those around him mad - at least until his next show-stopping move.
Chances of becoming a Wizard: Not likely at all, especially since Stephenson surely wants a starting job and could command a salary in the $8-10 million range per season. As long as the Wizards have Bradley Beal on the roster, no starting gig exists with the locals. Then again, Washington could have money available and be in search of another wing depending on Trevor Ariza's free agent scenario. In this small ball era, is spending starters money on three guards that crazy? Besides, Stephenson plays bigger than his listed height and therefore can guard some or most small forwards. Of course, the Wizards did a good job in recent seasons of eliminating the knucklehead factor from the locker room. After his very public ear-blowing incident with LeBron James during the Eastern Conference finals, Stephenson ranks as class clown. Then again, it's OK for a team to have one of those oddball types, right?