Mar 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Pacers defeated the Sixers 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Rumors: Chicago Bulls could sign Lance Stephenson over Carmelo Anthony


The Chicago Bulls have some work to do in the offseason, but given how well they’ve been playing they may not have to do as much work as we conch thought. Now that the panic has washed away, the Bulls offseason plans don’t seem as pressing as they once did but that doesn’t mean fans and writers aren’t window shopping anyways.

While all of the talk at one point focused on Carmelo Anthony, some have begun shifting back to a player who was popular for an instant before the Melo drama kicked up dust in the Windy City. Indiana Pacers star Lance Stephenson was once considered an option for the Bulls, and now that Phil Jackson appears to have the powers to keep Carmelo in New York, Jon Greenberg is back on the Lance Stephenson train and is handing out free tickets.

Per Jon Greenberg:

Ideally, it’s Indiana Pacersguard Lance Stephenson. In some ways, he’s a better Plan A, because he could fit in the salary slot vacated by the amnesty of Boozer. Stephenson is a rare find, a future unrestricted free agent at age 23. He doesn’t quite fit the Bulls’ archetypal player profile, and his past legal issues are troubling, but the former Brooklyn prep star would slide in nicely with this team.

This is all assuming the Bulls want to go out and get Stephenson and do the things necessary to make it possible. But the number of things that need to happen for the Bulls to get the Pacers Sixth Man are far less than they were for them to land Melo.

That doesn’t mean he’s a lock to come to Chicago, but fans don’t have to avoid getting excited over the idea of how well it works.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Chicago Bulls Lance Stephenson NBA Free Agency 2014

  • datdudedre’

    I’ve liked this possibility ever since it was first mentioned. I think this would be a good move by the Bulls. Lance is a young, talented player with the upside to become even better. On the court, he could provide us with the vaunted “number 2 scorer” that has been missing the last 4 seasons. Jimmy Butler could move back up to his more natural small forward position and a lineup of Rose-Stephenson-Butler-Gibson-Noah would be a favorite to win the East. I agree, he doesn’t fit the mold of a true Bull, but neither does Carmelo. Coming over from Indiana, Lance has already been groomed in a defensive, team-first mentality. Combine that with a little discipline from Coach Thibs and a little motivation from Noah, and I think he’d be fine in a Bulls uniform. I also think he’d benefit from knowing he’d be the number 2 option, Batman and Robin style, with Rose (though statistically, he’s also the Pacers number 2 scorer too). Another caveat: Stephenson could be developed into being the star player on the Bulls, with Rose being relegated to “Robin” status if he never gets back to MVP form. Lance has witnessed this type of ascension first hand, watching Paul George take off to stardom during the injury absence of now former Pacers star Danny Granger. There would need to be some fanagling by the Bulls to make this signing happen, most notably using the amnesty on Boozer. Then what little money that’s left over would go into putting a bench behind swingman Tony Snell. I like this move much better than trying to mortgage the future by signing Carmelo.

    • Nate Kenny

      I get what you’re saying but this won’t happen. I’m a die hard Pacers fan and I’m not sure where this article is going. One of the main points of trading Danny Granger (if not THE main point) was so the Pacers could resign Lance Stephenson in the offseason for a much heavier salary. Lance has said numerous times over the course of this season that he wants to stay in Indiana long-term and Larry Bird made it perfectly clear that he wants to keep Lance as well. By trading Granger, the Pacers can now offer Lance a longer term contract at 7-9 million a year which is what he wants. The Pacers knew the weren’t going to be able to keep Granger and Stephenson next year so one of them had to go. They decide on the older Granger. Larry has made it perfectly clear that he sees Lance as a part of what the Pacers are trying to do long term by bringing in young, athletic, and high energy guys like Lance and Paul George. Lance doesn’t want to leave Indiana and the Pacers will be able to match any salary another team offers him in the offseason. Plus he has had tremendous success in Indiana so far. So why WOULD he leave?

      • MaCc2much

        That just means the bulls may overpay….with no melo in the fold stephenson will be priority number one.

        • Nate Kenny

          Like I said, the Pacers will be able to match any offer another team gives Stephenson. He wants to stay in Indy and they can pay him just as much as the Bulls, so why would he leave? By the way the Bulls won’t go over 10 million a year for Stephenson so they won’t try and drastically overpay. And Stephenson is hardly the “number one” priority for the Bulls in the offseason. Depth is their number one concern at the moment. Number two is their point guard situation depending on how Rose’s second return plays out. Augustine and Hinrich will both be free agents after this season. Then their third priority is another solid starter. Which I’ve already proven won’t be Stephenson. But their are still plenty of other options on the market. I’m really surprised they didn’t go for Granger when he became available.

          • fumf

            LOL…you nullified any good argument you’ve made so far by saying you were SURPRISED the Bulls didn’t go for Danny Granger. LOL

          • Nate Kenny

            I’m not the one saying Danny Granger should have gone to the Bulls. There is an article on this website ripping the Bulls for not signing Danny Granger when they had the chance. So if you think that is bs, then why do you trust the credibility of THIS article?

          • Azim

            Nate.Sorry for all the hatred you’re getting from the rest of these guys man. I respect your loyalty for your pacers and I also respect the loyalty of these other bulls fans giving you a hard time as I am also a die hard bulls fan.

            With that said, a couple points I would like to make that string back to your arguments in some earlier comments on this post. I was at Purdue University for 5 years and caught both of the Bulls games played in Indy for those 5 years (plus the playoffs in 2011). I know as of recent Indy has been filling a lot of seats with pacers fan but man I’m telling you, the past couple years Bulls fans took over every game we played against you.

            To your point on Lance staying in Indy. He may, he might not, who knows. But I think the point Brian was trying to make was that any free agent would be attracted to Chicago more. Why do I believe this? Look, I know you guys are the number 1 seed and all right now, but be honest with yourself, if we had Derrick Rose, you would never have that spot.

            I also don’t understand why you think the Pacers are
            significantly better than the Bulls? Lance jumping ships from pacers to the bulls is not that much of a downgrade. In fact I’d say (sure, call me biased) that it’s an upgrade. I’d take Jo over Hibbert, Taj over West, and Rose over Hill ANY day. You have us beat with the match up against Paul George. Butler and Lance truly do neutralize each other out, but since this argument is about Lance coming to Chicago, that would be a crazy tandem.

            Nonetheless, I’m not on the lance or melo wagon. I think it’ll destroy the chemistry the Bulls have built through the draft and we should not break the bank for either. Why am I reading this article then you ask? Well honestly, I’m so against signing Lance that I had to read this article to see the points the author was creating and surely enough, they were not convincing.

            Hope I wasn’t to offensive but after all, I am a bulls fan
            currently talking to a Pacers fan and at some point, the biases and rivalries are hard to ignore (believe me, being a die hard chicago fan and living in Indiana for 5 years is hard as f**k).

            Would love to read your feedback though.

          • Nate Kenny

            I would agree we are all a little bit biased towards our own teams. Obviously being a die hard Pacers fan, I would take Hibbert over Noah and West over Gibson. West doesn’t play well against the Bulls for some reason but he can go for 25 any given night. But of course I would take Rose over Hill.

            But the point that Bulls fans think they would have the top seed with Rose kind of confuses me. Most Bulls fans act like there is no question the Bulls would be way ahead of the Pacers right now if they had Rose. Ehh, there’s certainly no way to know for sure. The Bulls used to get way ahead of the Pacers with Rose when the Pacers were in a distant 2nd in the division, but now I think it would be much more competitive for sure. But I don’t think the Bulls would have run away with the division. Granted I don’t think the Pacers would either. Just more competitive. I know you want you’re team to do good but it’s not like the Pacers would be worse if the Bulls had Rose. No doubt that the Bulls would be better with Rose but remember the Pacers started 16-1 so that’s an uphill climb for anyone from there. However, I don’t like the way we have been playing lately and am looking for some revitalization tonight against the Heat. If the Pacers win tonight. They will get the one seed.

            Next if I said I thought the Pacers were significantly better than the Bulls I didn’t mean it. I definitely meant to say significantly better than the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks and other large market teams that suck. Of course, you can’t put the Bulls in that category.

          • MaCc2much

            so tell me nate…..what happens with lance now post playoffs?

          • Nate Kenny

            He stays in Indiana? What do you mean? He has continued to say he is staying in Indiana, Larry Bird has said “you don’t just let that kind of talent walk out the door” and the Pacers have just enough cap space to sign him on to a higher paying contract of 8-10 mil per year. Plus David West even said he’s a vital part of what they’re trying to accomplish in the future. Same story. Pacers fans (including myself) love him.

      • Brian Bush

        He will leave because the Bulls is a better franchise always have been and always will be. Pacers are just the Pacers nothing more nothing less.

        • Nate Kenny

          That just makes absolutely no sense lol. Tell me one way that the Bulls are a better franchise than the Pacers are currently. This isn’t 1995, this is 2014. Pacers are currently a much better franchise than the Bulls as the Bulls have a few issues they need to sort out over the offseason. Like I said before, he doesn’t want to leave Indiana, Bird wants to keep him, and the Pacers can match any other offer another team gives him, so I’ll ask for a third time. WHY WOULD HE LEAVE?

          • Brian Bush

            No you dont make any sense. You are making and argument based upon PRESENT day sucess. You are saying that the Pacers are a better franchise because that have had two good seasons in which might I add they still didnt make it to the finals. Lets be clear you and the rest of the Indiana fan base have Derrick Rose knees to thank for your PRESENT success because if not you will still be the second fiddle in a division that we own. You seem to be just a fan and not equipped with general basketball knowledge so let me educate you. When you value a franchise you base it upon their accomplishments
            over there entire existence not just a couple of good seasons. The Lakers and the Celtics are having down years but they are still better franchises than your Pacers because they are STORIED franchises. So lets put it like this no its not 1991 92 93 96 97 98 but when was the last time yall won a championship?, ill wait. Yeah now thats laughable.Now lil one if you still think i dnt make sense let me simplify it for you: the Bulls Celtics and Lakers will attract more free agents than the Pacers ever will. Holla back when your team win something of meaning or you increase your basketball knowledge and maybe you will make sense

          • Nate Kenny

            No you don’t make any sense. You are confusing franchise with franchise history. The Pacers are the one of the best PRESENT DAY FRANCHISES. A franchise is the team, coaches, board, GM’s, and everybody else that makes the program go. Right now the Pacers are doing one of the best jobs at it in the NBA. I can’t even believe I’m having this argument with someone who has so little basketball knowledge. Storied franchises relates to franchise history. But the work “franchise” alone does not. The Celtics and Lakers are not better “franchises” then the Pacers. Storied franchises? Sure. But there comes a time when you have to stop living in the past and move to the present. Lets also be clear that we have had our own share of injuries. Our best player for 7 years in Danny Granger went down and we would still be top dog in our Division if he never got injured and if Rose never got injured. But they both did and now neither team has them. Exsuses exscuses. I guess that can go with the fact that your team hasn’t accomplished anything significant in 15 years.

            So lets get this straight. You’re saying Lance Stephenson will leave the Pacers because he could go to a worse Bulls, Celtics, or Lakers team because that team had sucess 15 years ago? AND I’M THE ONE WITH NO BASKETBALL KNOWLEDGE!?
            This is a new era of the NBA. An era where the Heat, Clippers, and Trail Blazers are actually respectable. Oklahoma City has only been around for 6 years and look what kind of a name they have built for themselves already. The only reason teams are good is becuase of their players and coaches. Which come and go. Wherever Lebron goes, his teams have tremendous sucess. Jordan was a great player, but as soon as he left, the Bulls fell into a 10 year slump. The reason the Lakers have been so consitant in the past is becuase as soon as Magic left, Kobe came along. Now they have no star and are sucking. Any team can get the star. At the end of the day, it’s the players and coaches that make the team, not the logo or mascot. The teams that currently have the best players attract the free agents. That’s why Lebron went to Miami, not Boston or the Lakers lmao. And that’s why Lance will stay in Indiana. He (and his family) want to stay and the Pacers are having sucess. No need to leave for lesser team becuase they USED to be good. Yeah the Bulls are currently a step ahead of the Celtics or Lakers, but they are still a step behind Indiana. Why would he have to take a step back from a place he doesn’t need to leave if he doesn’t want to?

          • Brian Bush

            lmao you can always tell the those type of people who claim to know so much about basketball but cant play the sport.You pretty much just said a whole bunch of nothing. The fact that you are commenting on a article about the Bulls proves the point im trying to make. Just for clarification kid this was never an argument about Lance Stephenson because I for one as a die hard Bulls fan do not want Lance Stepheson so i could careless whether he comes to Chicago or not. Honestly, Lance is a good player but hes not worth breaking the bank for or 10 mill for that matter. Bottomline I understand that you are a fan caught up in your teams new found hype but when its all said and done the Pacers are just the Pacers whether its 2014 or 90s (reggie miller years) Soooo again( the one FACT that you failed to acknowledge in your rebuttal …hmmm i wonder why lol) until you can say Pacers and Championship in the same sentence run along buddy.

          • Nate Kenny

            Hmm I completely see it the other way. First of all I’ve played basketball since I was 8 and currently at my high school so obviously you didn’t understand that part like you said you did. Also I’ve proved all of your points wrong and yet you say I said a whole lot of nothing. What’s the matter, give into the fact that I’m right? I mean I honestly don’t understand. How did I say a whole lot of nothing? I mean really, I’m actually curious. I went through your points one by one and told off each one as to why it was wrong. And that’s saying a whole lot of nothing? You didn’t even elaborate. You just said I said a whole lot of nothing and left it at that. Ok? Once again you’ve shown no basketball knowledge whatsoever. And no only that, but you’ve accused ME of having no basketball knowledge. Unbelievable lmao.
            Also the Pacers have multiple ABA championships so obviously I can use them in the same sentence. ABA isn’t as good as NBA but we have a few in the late 70′s. And you’re just like the Heat fans logic.
            1.Start Argument
            2.Lose Argument
            3.Bring up Rings
            If you hope Lance doesn’t come to Chicago, why are you even commenting on this board? All I’m saying is that he won’t go to Chicago and I’ve explained in detail why. Yet somehow we are having an argument as to who has the most rings? I didn’t start this argument. The fact that the Bulls have rings doesn’t change the fact that Lance will stay in Indiana. Like I’ve said before (along with all the other facts I brought up that you completely disregarded for worthlessness for some reason) this is a new era of the NBA. A franchise becomes good because of players and coaches. Not logos and mascots. When the players leave, the teams sink. Simple

          • Brian Bush

            I didnt elaborate because after your last response I realized that you were a KID and while you sit in your room and play seasons on 2K14 im working thriving in a career. So for the last time until your Pacers win a championship holla back and maybe we can have a debate of substance. Go play with your friends kiddo and take care

          • Nate Kenny

            Ok first of all, lets just get the Kiddo’s out of our system. For you own benefit because you’re making yourself look a heck of a lot more immature than me. I’m 18 years old, and am going to major in business next year in college. So lets stop with the name calling when it doesn’t even remotely apply.
            Next, the I even admitted ABA championships aren’t near as impressive as NBA championships but at least you can use Pacers and championship in the same sentence. That’s the only point I was trying to make.
            Then you go on some rant about how I play 2k14. Well… only thing I can say to that is that I don’t play the game. Never have.
            Clearly you are the kind that gets frustrated when losing an argument so you pretend you are having great joy by including lots of laughing and name calling in your posts. Then you jump to conclusion about who you are talking to (that aren’t true) so you don’t have to get back to the subject at hand because you know you are in over your head.

          • Brian Bush

            Rotfl !!! Im sorry kid I did not read your entire post. Im just now noticing the ABA Championship reference. Your right kiddo how can anyone argue with that lmao!!! Kids say the darndest things

          • fumf

            How many top FA’s has Indy been able to sign or even retain over the years? Say what you want about present success but if given the choice, 80% of players would rather play for the Bulls. Because yes, past success, namely of Michael Jordan and much greater fan base does have an impact.

          • Nate Kenny

            And fumf or however you say it, Indiana doesn’t need to sign free agents over the past years. They never have. The whole “built not bought” campaign goes into it. We draft our good players, not sign them from free agency. We don’t WANT free agents. David West is our starting exception. Also I wouldn’t say the Bulls have a “much greater” fan base than the Pacers. True, they average the most persons per game but they also have the largest arena. Both teams have a great fan base and Chicago is a bigger city than Indy so it’s all in comparison. And past success definitely contributes if you’re a pure free agent, but not if you’re having success. Not if you are starting on the top team in the East to leave and go to one of the bottom 5 NBA teams in the NBA for the same amount of money because they used to be good. Then it’s not even a decision. Obviously you stay with the team that you are having success with.

          • fumf

            Oh come on. There is no comparison between the fan bases. Just look at the Pacers attendance before they got good recently. Even the first couple years they were good fans weren’t showing up. At the beginning of this year during a torrid start the Pacers were still only at 87% capacity. That’s garbage. Indiana is and always will be more into college basketball and racing than NBA. Even when the Bulls were terrible in the 00′s they still were at the top in attendance.

            As far as building a team goes, what NBA team has ever bought a Championship? Stop with that silliness right now. If the Pacers don’t WANT free agents they have no chance. You can say David West is the exception but without him you’re a middle of the pack team.

            And are you calling the Bulls a bottom 5 team? I hope not. I don’t see any way Stephenson wouldn’t at least consider signing with the Bulls. You Stephenson’s mom or agent? Because you seem to know what he’s thinking. I honestly don’t think the Bulls are setting their sights on him though. It’s gotta be Melo and if not Melo then Mirotic.

          • Nate Kenny

            First, never said the Bulls were a bottom 5 team so lets stop with that fiction. I was referring to the Lakers or Celtics obviously.
            Next, the Pacers are averaging 96% of the Fieldhouse filling up every night with already more than twice the number of sellouts than last season. (contributing to the best home record in the league)
            Next, if the Pacers can’t attract any free agents because they didn’t win any championships 20 years ago, then how did they sign David West?
            Next, “As far as building a team goes, what NBA team has ever bought a Championship?” I’m assuming that is sarcasm because there is no way you can be serious with that statement so I’ll leave it alone.
            Next, you’re right, I don’t know what Lance Stephenson is thinking, but he has been quoted in the Indy Star and on the Pacers websites as saying he doesn’t want to leave Indiana, and his family is behind his decision. But I DO know what Larry Bird is thinking (and its not even hard). Trade Danny keep Lance. It’s a simple strategy and Larry wouldn’t have let Danny go unless he knew for sure he could get Lance. Larry wasn’t just going to let two of his best players just leave.
            Finally, my initial post on this board was just talking about how Lance was going to stay with the Pacers past this season. Not sure why we are arguing if you don’t care about the original topic at all.

          • fumf

            Great, the fans are filing in finally. But I was living in Indy for the first several years of the Granger era and it was not pretty. No one cared. It’s all college basketball and racing in Indy. It was the Colts and then Peyton left and so did many fans. Couldn’t even sell out for the NFL last year?!?! Come on. Not a good sports city. Period. Just very lucky they had Peyton and very lucky they sucked for Luck.

            Name the next best FA signing after David West…

            And you seem to be overvaluing Granger by a ton. He’s useless now. Done. Bird had to try and get something for him and he picked up Turner in case Stephenson left. And hypothetically, if Stephenson leaves, you better be prepared to have Turner(who can’t play a lick of defense) as your starting SG next year because no one better than him is coming in. Maybe Reggie can lace them up again.

          • Nate Kenny

            You can’t say the Colts have no fan base after Peyton left.
            They have had one of the top fan bases in the NFL the past 15 years and there
            is no question about it. They sold out every home game the year right after
            Peyton left (when they went 2-14) and have only not sold out 2 home games in
            the past 12 seasons. Obviously, the city and state has cared more about the
            Colts than the Pacers but saying the Colts don’t have a top fan base it like
            saying the Bulls don’t have a top fan base. Just not true.

            Next, the Pacers haven’t signed any free agents accept Scola and Rasual Butler this season since West. They just don’t go after them. It’s not like they’ve tried to get players that ended up signing with another team, they just don’t go for them period. If they do acquire players from another team, it’s almost always a trade. Other than that, it’s been draft picks for the starting lineup.

  • Leroy Boyd

    Signing Stephenson I dont understand how anyone thinks this is even a remote chance of happening. Thinking the Pacers would allow a 23 year old with the upside of Stephenson that they would allow him to just to go to the Bulls?

    Come on people the Bulls have a better chance at Melo than Stephenson. The Pacers have him and George for the next 8-10 years of high quality play and to lose him to the one team that is missing one solid player from passing you up and Larry Bird is going to allow the Bulls Stephenson.

    Now some think the Pacers and Larry Bird are stupid

  • Live Well

    Lance Stephenson is very difficult to watch play basketball. He’s got the tangibles but he is too often of control and erratic with his decision making. I think he’s one of those guys that will get a big contract based on “upside” that will never be reached.