NBA Rumors: Lance Stephenson, Who Had Long-Running Feud With LeBron James, Is Now Joining Him On The Lakers

Lance Stephenson and LeBron James have gone from enemies to teammates, as the Los Angeles Lakers sign Stephenson to a one-year deal.

LeBron James pushes Lance Stephenson.
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Lance Stephenson and LeBron James have gone from enemies to teammates, as the Los Angeles Lakers sign Stephenson to a one-year deal.

Lance Stephenson wants to show LeBron James that bitter rivals can become frenemies on the Los Angeles Lakers. Yahoo Sports Shams Charania is reporting that Stephenson will join James as the two team up on the Lakers next season.

Lance Stephenson and LeBron James joining forces was something no one could have ever anticipated when ESPN reported that James signed a four-year deal to play for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. James became the first domino to fall with a few others that would follow. The most surprising name added to the suddenly new-Lakers team is Lance Stephenson.

Lance Stephenson becoming a teammate of LeBron James is shocking due to the fact they have had a heated rivalry for years. Each time Stephenson has played against James, he finds a way to annoy him. It is as if Stephenson wants James to know that he will not back down.

USA Today carefully detailed the disdain between Stephenson and James. The fact that they have taken different paths to earn their NBA stripes gets taken for granted. The beginning of their feud tells the full story of how different things have been for them.

In the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Lance Stephenson was seen flashing the choke sign as LeBron James was missing a free throw. Stephenson and James were with the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat at the time. Stephenson was merely a little-used reserve. After that scene, Lance Stephenson would seek to pester LeBron James every chance he got. Things peaked during one playoff series when Stephenson inexplicably blew in James’ ear.

The Lakers are hoping that Lance Stephenson and LeBron James can put their past to the side and focus on winning. It would not be so surprising to see the two of them become friends at least on the basketball court.

Lance Stephenson gives the Los Angeles Lakers something they lack — overall toughness. Stephenson is also fearless in big moments

Prior to adding LeBron James, the Lakers were a young team finding its way. Despite having Luol Deng’s presence as a veteran, it was clear that he was not in their plans. Deng is definitely not part of the Lakers’ future either. However, the Lakers needed to add a player who could protect their future. This is where Lance Stephenson comes in.

Somebody has to do the dirty work. Stephenson’s willingness to defend along the perimeter is something that would help the Lakers, and LeBron James.

Lance Stephenson is also not shy about taking shots. If the Los Angeles Lakers want to solidify their place, being shy is not the way to go. Most importantly, Lance Stephenson as earned LeBron James’ respect due to their feud. That came with a green light for the Lakers to sign him. James is now hoping that Stephenson will turn his frenetic energy loose against the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers also shored up their frontcourt with the signing of JaVale McGee, according to Yahoo Sports. McGee gives the Lakers a rim protector with a developing offensive game. While the Lakers do not foresee JaVale McGee being a big scorer, he could become an affordable piece as a defensive anchor.

Now that the Los Angles Lakers have added JaVale McGee and LeBron James’ nemesis Lance Stephenson to the fold as defensive stalwarts, they remain poised to make another splashy move at some point down the road.