Lance Stephenson always felt his famed rivalry with LeBron James was rooted in mutual respect.

When James called Stephenson last week to pitch him on teaming up with the Los Angeles Lakers, Stephenson’s feelings were confirmed — and he quickly accepted the invitation.

The Lakers formally announced the signings of Stephenson, center JaVale McGee and second-round draft pick Svi Mykhailiuk on Tuesday.

Coming off a productive season in his latest stint with the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal to join James, McGee and Rajon Rondo in the Lakers’ influx of veteran talent.

Stephenson has been one of James’ most famed antagonists during their careers, and even Stephenson is surprised they’ve become teammates. But it only took a phone call from LeBron to persuade Stephenson to join the Lakers.

“I was actually surprised he made the move to LA,” Stephenson said. “I guess he needed a new look, and I just feel like him reaching out and showing he likes what I bring to the game, it’s amazing. I’m just happy to be on a team that wants to win.”

Heat talk to Anthony

The Miami Heat’s interest in Carmelo Anthony has proven more than cursory, with ESPN reporting that the Heat have met with representatives for the Oklahoma City Thunder forward.

Anthony, 34, is in the process of buyout negotiations with the Thunder.

Ex-player sentenced

Former NBA player Kermit Washington has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in charity donations on vacations, shopping sprees and plastic surgery for his girlfriend.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City, Mo., said in a news release that the 66-year-old Las Vegas man was also ordered Monday to pay nearly $970,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in November to making a false statement in a tax return and aggravated identity theft.

Washington played for several NBA teams in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Los Angeles Lakers.