The Boston Celtics are among the teams interested in free agent Lance Stephenson, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Monday. [tweet https://twitter.com/Chris_Broussard/status/486248271049158658 align=”center”]
Broussard reported earlier this month that the Indiana Pacers offered a five-year deal worth $44 million in an effort to re-sign Stephenson, but the sides haven’t been able to bridge the gap between them.
As for the Celtics, adding Stephenson makes little sense.
Stephenson is a versatile shooting guard/small forward with an all-around skill set. He’s able to stretch the floor with his outside shot and beat slower defenders off the dribble and get to the basket. He won’t address Boston’s need for a power forward and/or center who’s capable of dominating the glass and providing a shot-blocking presence.
Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 35.3 minutes per game last season. That’s about one point less per game than Avery Bradley averaged for the Celtics last season. Bradley and the Celtics agreed to a four-year deal worth $32 million last week.
Similar to Stephenson, Bradley primarily is a shooting guard, and he plays better perimeter defense than the Indiana star and doesn’t cause distractions on or off the court. Stephenson was seen blowing air at Miami Heat forward LeBron James’ ear during Indiana’s Eastern Conference finals series last season and also talked trash to the four-time NBA MVP, which he later admitted was a mistake.
The Celtics would be wise to not enter a bidding war with the Pacers and pursue a better player than Stephenson (someone like Kevin Love, who Boston reportedly is still after).