Lowe’s Latest: Stephenson, Horford, Hamilton

Zach Lowe’s weekly column for Grantland, always required reading for NBA fans, focuses this week on Lance Stephenson, and Lowe classifies the Hornets and Pistons as the Pacers‘ stiffest competition for the unrestricted free agent shooting guard this summer. A February report made note of Charlotte’s interest, but it’s unclear if the Pistons are indeed planning a pursuit. Still, Lowe has plenty of intel on Stephenson and others from around the league, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • The Hawks made Al Horford available to other teams at the trade deadline in a “very targeted fashion,” sources tell Lowe.
  • Multiple execs have pegged the Kings as a potential suitor for Stephenson if Rudy Gay opts out, Lowe reports, but Lowe suggests that Gay is planning to opt in. The last dispatch from Gay signaled that he was torn about what to do with his player option, worth more than $19.3MM, so it’s unclear if Lowe is merely making an educated guess or if he’s heard indications that Gay will indeed pick up the option.
  • Plenty of rival executives have mentioned the Pelicans as a sign-and-trade possibility for Stephenson, writes Lowe, who nonetheless doesn’t see a fit.
  • Jordan Hamilton has piqued the curiosity of teams from around the league, according to Lowe. The Grantland scribe mentions Hamilton among possibilities for teams looking to split the $5.305MM non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception between two players, and that looks like ominous news for Houston’s hopes of re-signing him. The Rockets are limited to offering a starting salary of no more than $2,109,294, as I explained at the bottom of Houston’s offseason outlook last week.

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