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Heat target Lance Stephenson

The SportsXchange

Lance Stephenson got under the skin of the Heat in the NBA Finals, but team president Pat Riley wouldn't mind fitting him with a Miami jersey is the price is right for the restricted free agent.

ESPN's Dan LeBatard reported Tuesday that Stephenson was a target of Riley's.

Unhappy with the five-year, $44 million offer from the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson made it clear last week he is on the open market. The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks could make offers but, like the rest of the NBA, will not take action until the offseason's largest contract dominoes -- of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony -- fall.

The Heat added forward help in Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, who agreed to deals Monday. Stephenson is a more dynamic player on both ends of the court. Granger, who will receive just over $2 million per season over two years, was Stephenson's teammate in Indiana.

It is not certain whether Miami views Stephenson as a better option alongside James and free agent Dwyane Wade or if Riley considers him a Plan B should James bolt for another team.

Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor in 2013-14. He made a publicized self-promotion push to make the All-Star team and in the NBA Finals did his best to shadow James all over the court.

At one dead-ball situation, Stephenson blew into James' ear. He denied it was an attempt to get into James' head, and teammate Paul George and Pacers president Larry Bird urged Stephenson to focus on basketball.

"I don't think I can get into LeBron's head," he said. "He's the best player in the league, he knows how to play through that kind of stuff. I don't think it bothered him at all. I have a lot of respect for him. He's going to find a way to play great."

Stephenson recently emerged as a target of the Mavericks, who are also in line for Trevor Ariza (Wizards) and other small forwards. Stephenson led the NBA in triple-doubles with five last season and his 7.2 rebounds per game, highest among the league's guards, could help a Mavericks team that was among the league's worst in rebounding.
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