The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly pursuing point guard Isiah Thomas and swingman Lance Stephenson.
Thomas played for the Sacramento Kings last season while Stephenson played for the Indiana Pacers.
The Kings recently signed Darren Collison, believing that he is a better point guard.
The Sacramento Bee reports that a difference in perspective will likely cause the Kings and Thomas to part ways.
“Despite his size, the 5-foot-9 Thomas gets into the lane and creates a shot, scores off dribble drives and step-back jumpers, and eludes taller defenders with an expansive series of runners and floaters. His offense expanded in all three of his pro seasons, and on more than one occasion, he broke open the fourth quarter with a barrage of three-pointers. In an ideal world, the former Washington Husky would be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for the next decade, a coveted and dependable role player valued by every team in the league,” it reported.
“But Thomas sees himself through another prism. He envisions himself as a lead guard deserving a starter’s salary, and ultimately, this is why the Kings and their most popular player will part ways. The Kings were willing to offer $5 million to $6 million per year for four seasons – with the idea of Thomas as a super sub. But they were unwilling to match the $8 million to $9 million he reportedly was seeking and confident he would attract.”
Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report said on Sunday that he’s hearing that the Lakers are a “real possibility” for Thomas, having more money to commit than the Miami Heat, which are also pursuing the guard.
However, neither will sign Thomas until the LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony signings are over.
Thomas, 24, has played in the league for three years, averaged 20.3 points per game, along with 6.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds.
ESPN reported that Stephenson, who was offered a five-year, $44 million deal by the Pacers but declined it, is also on the Lakers radar. Stephenson felt he was low-balled on the offer.
The Dallas Mavericks are among the other teams interested in Stephenson, who led the NBA with five triple-doubles last year but had his share of problems in the locker room.
Stephenson, 23, averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game last year.
As for other targets for the Lakers, those include unrestricted free agent Trevor Ariza and restricted free agent Chandler Parsons, reported the LA Times. The Lakers don’t have a ton of room for all the holes they need to fill, having committed more than $37 million of next season’s projected $63-million salary cap to Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and rookie Julius Randle.
The team plans on trying to bring back Pau Gasol as well as Ryan Kelly and possibly Chris Kaman.