Phone call from LeBron James sealed Stephenson signing
Instead of simply tolerating Lance Stephenson on the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James actually appears to have been actively recruiting him.
Speaking with the media on Friday, Indiana Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said he offered Stephenson a better deal than the Lakers did. Pritchard said a phone call from James to Stephenson sealed it, per local reporter Mark Montieth.
@PacersKev clarified that he offered @StephensonLance a better deal than Lakers, but phone call from @KingJames sealed it. No hard feelings on either side. Especially now that @TyrekeEvans has signed.
— Mark Montieth (@MarkMontieth) July 6, 2018
The Pacers turned down Stephenson’s $4.3 million team option for the 2018-19 season before free agency began, though it sounds like they were just trying to maximize their flexibility and planned to bring him back. He wound up signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers instead.
A report earlier this week seemed to suggest that James was merely OK with Stephenson’s arrival, but now we know he definitely wanted his ex-adversary.