After LeBron James’s latest gripe fest, the Cleveland Cavaliers are desperate to add an extra piece to their rotation to bolster the Cavs’ run for a repeat. Specifically, LeBron asked for “a fucking playmaker,” so, naturally, the Cavs are exploring adding such gems as Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich. Though having Lil’ Mario around to yell it would probably provide Bron Bron with someone to take his frustrations out on, Chalmers is not the answer. And Hinrich is over the hill and far, far, far away.
But another name has been thrown around as a potential fix for the Cavs (at least, until J.R. Smith is healthy), and that name is Lance Stephenson. Call me crazy, but that wouldn’t be a bad idea. That wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
Sure, there was that time that Stephenson whispered sweet nothings into LeBron’s ear and basically annoyed the holy hell out of him for the entirety of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals when he was with the Indiana Pacers, but Stephenson also solidified himself as a certified baller in that series.
Rarely in the NBA do players basically fall off of the face of the Earth like Stephenson did thereafter, struggling to follow up on his success with the Pacers after he signed with the Charlotte Hornets. However, after failing to find a niche on other teams in the past few years, Stephenson (despite being a 26-year-old with plenty of talent) has attracted relatively little interest on the free agent market.
Of course, his history of being a distraction likely has a lot to do with that, but, considering that Stephenson is probably desperate at this point, it’s highly unlikely that he would do anything to compromise his position on the defending champs’ roster. A skilled athlete with a relentless scorer’s attitude and a tenacious defending style, Stephenson is the perfect candidate for revitalizing the Cavs.
Look at recent history. LeBron has a knack for rejuvenating players whose careers seem dead in the water. The aforementioned Smith and fellow guard Iman Shumpert were falling by the wayside with the New York Knicks prior to the Cavs trading for them a few years ago. The same could happen with Stephenson. Stephenson still has a lot left in the tank, and getting the chance to play alongside LeBron James could serve as the ultimate catalyst for both Stephenson and the Cavs as a whole.