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Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee Follow LeBron James In Move To Los Angeles Lakers

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 03, 2018 12:04 AM EDT
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Aside from superstar LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have added two more new faces to boost their campaign next season.

The Lakers signed veteran guard Lance Stephenson and center JaVale McGee to one-year deals after signing James to a four-year deal worth $154 million.

League sources told ESPN that the 27-year-old Stephenson to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million. As for McGee, he inked a one-year pact with a veteran's minimum salary.

Stephenson played 82 games for the Pacers last season, averaging 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. However, the Pacers declined the team option on his contract in the offseason, allowing him to hit the free-agent market.

Lance Stephenson A Solid Player For Lakers

Stephenson had several run-ins with James in the past due to his pestering defense. However, Stephenson's presence with the Lakers will not be a problem as James has no personal grudge against him.

A second-round pick by Indiana in the 2010 NBA Draft, Stephenson played four seasons with the Pacers. During the 2013-14 season, Stephenson emerged as an all-around threat for the Pacers, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 78 games.

Stephenson's solid performance paid dividends in free agency as it earned him a two-year deal worth $18 million with the Charlotte Hornets in 2014. However, Stephenson had lasted just one season with the Hornets before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2016.

The Clippers traded Stephenson at the trade deadline to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged 14.2 points in 26 games. The Grizzlies declined the team option in Stephenson's contract, making him a free agent.

After bouncing around with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves early in the 2016-17 season, Stephenson signed a two-year deal with the Pacers.

JaVale McGee To Give Lakers A Veteran Presence

McGee, meanwhile, was part of the Golden State Warriors' back-to-back NBA titles. Last season, McGee averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 boards in 65 games with the Warriors. In the playoffs, McGee started in nine of the Warriors' 13 games, averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 boards in 12.2 minutes of play.

The 18th overall pick by Washington in the 2008 Draft out of Nevada, McGee has played with the Wizards, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and the Warriors in his 10-year career. McGee will use his experience to impart knowledge on the Lakers' young big men.

In addition to McGee and Stephenson, the Lakers also re-signed free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year contract worth $12 million. The 25-year-old Caldwell-Pope is an ideal backcourt partner for James with his shooting. The Lakers are giving out just one-year deals to create cap space for next summer.

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