May 24, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (left) guard Lance Stephenson (center) and forward Evan Turner (right) reacts during a game against the Miami Heat in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Stephenson rumors: A Chicago Bulls backup plan?

The Chicago Bulls have huge plans for the offseason.

The Bulls are going to be players for unrestricted free agents like Miami Heat forward LeBron James and New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony and could even try to swing a deal for Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love. Anthony seems like the most likely to join the Bulls with many pundits reporting they are the favorites to acquire him, but lately, momentum seems to shifted back in the Knicks’ favor. That could cause the Bulls to look in a different direction.

David Aldridge of believes Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson would be a good fit for the Bulls if they can’t land Anthony.

But whatever the combination, a sign-and-trade with New York won’t be easy to pull off (cap avatar Mark Deeks explains here how including forward Anthony Randolph in the deal with Denver makes it harder, though not impossible, for the Bulls to make a trade with New York for Anthony).

By contrast, a straight sign of Stephenson (after amnestying Boozer) would allow Chicago to keep everybody important: Mirotic, McBuckets and Gibson, with Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Tony Snell in the mix along with Rose and Joakim Noah. The problem is finding enough room to get Stephenson to leave a still-formidable Indiana team. (To create enough room to also sign Mirotic, after his buyout in Spain is finalized, the Bulls may still have to trade somebody else.)

Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season while shooting 49.1% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 71.1% from the free throw line in the regular season. In the postseason, he put up 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He shot 45.5% from the field, 35.8% from three and 71.4% from the charity stripe.

Tags: Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson NBA Free Agency

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