Lance Stephenson is 'certainly on the list' of Mavericks' targets

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Mavericks will make an aggressive run at Lance Stephenson if the Rockets match their offer sheet on Chandler Parsons.

The Dallas Mavericks have an offer sheet out to Chandler Parsons, but the team will need to look elsewhere if the Houston Rockets ultimately match. That could lead the Mavs to make a run at Indiana Pacers free agent Lance Stephenson, team owner Mark Cuban told reporters at Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday.

"We're exploring a lot of options, a lot of different people," Cuban said on Saturday. "Hopefully, the Rockets won't match and we'll have Chandler and that changes what we're able to do but Lance is certainly on the list."

Earlier this offseason, the Pacers offered Stephenson a five-year, $44 million deal, but the unrestricted free agent reportedly turned it down in favor of pursing a larger deal. He's seen minimal interest from other teams thus far, however, with his antics during the 2014 postseason likely suppressing his value.

That may not keep away the Mavericks, who coaxed a fantastic season out of Monta Ellis in 2013-14 after signing the volatile guard last summer. Maybe Cuban believes he can score again with an undervalued former second-round pick, this time from the Pacers.

Why it could happen

Nobody would ever doubt that Stephenson is talented, and under the Cuban, the Mavericks haven't been scared to take risks on talented players. So it's not surprising that Dallas would consider Stephenson even if other teams shy away.

The bigger question is what happens with Parsons, and whether the Rockets ultimately match the Mavericks' three-year, $46 million offer sheet. If Dallas ends up getting Parsons, there won't be any room for another substantial contract offer to Stephenson.

However, it's far more likely that the Rockets ultimately match the offer sheet, leaving Dallas to sort through the alternatives. The Pacers obviously want Stephenson back, but the Mavericks could be willing to price him out their range if they want the defensive-minded wing bad enough.

Why it won't happen

Indiana doesn't want to let Stephenson go for nothing, and the Mavericks still don't even know whether they have the cap space to pursue him. At this point, there are just enough moving pieces to believe the Pacers are still the frontrunners for Stephenson.

There's also the question of what role Stephenson would play on a team that starts Ellis and Shawn Marion on the wings. While he never openly complained about his bench role in the past, it wouldn't be surprising if Stephenson prefers to start wherever he goes next.

And now that guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza and Paul Pierce have signed new deals, Stephenson quickly becomes one of the top wings on the market. So there's always the possibility another suitor emerges soon, or that Indiana simply ups its offer.

Likelihood it happens

The Mavericks will likely make a run at Stephenson if they don't get Parsons -- and they probably won't. So the real question is whether Dallas ultimately offers enough money and opportunity, or the Pacers or some other team steps up and completes a deal. We know the Mavericks aren't scared of players like him, so let's put the odds of a signing at 4 out of 10.

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