In some not so shocking, although to some surely disappointing news, Lance Stephenson's future with the Memphis Grizzlies just got a little more uncertain. From The Vertical's Shams Charania-
Vertical Sources: Memphis has declined Lance Stephenson's $9.4M team option. He'll be free agent. Interest for return, interest elsewhere.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2016
This of course does not instantly mean that Lance Stephenson will not be back in Memphis with the Grizzlies next season. What it does mean, though, is that the Grizzlies want to keep options open with regard to potential free agents. It means they could hope to sign a big time free agent with some of that money, as they could with Chandler Parsons (as I wrote about today) and that trading Lance's contract in to a trade exception for another player like Cleveland could perhaps have done according to our Matt Hrdlicka will not happen.
It means that General Manager Chris Wallace and the Memphis Grizzlies' front office valued that $9.4 million of room more than they did Lance. It means that the trade that brought Lance to Memphis really was more so about the first round pick that was acquired from the LA Clippers. It means that Jeff Green has now turned in to essentially Deyonta Davis and Rade Zagorac, the #31 and #35 overall picks that Memphis took in last week's NBA Draft when they sent that 2019 Clippers first rounder to Boston.
Memphis will surely be interested in bringing Lance back if other plans fall through, or perhaps at a nice number for them in the $6 million or so per year range, or maybe with some higher numbers that aren't guaranteed. Will Lance want to take that kind of deal?
Stay tuned. Free Agency officially begins Friday.