Former Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson has been open to rejoining the team that he left during the 2014 NBA Free Agency period. Does he fit the team’s new roster enough for Larry Bird to seriously consider bringing back the 25-year-old guard?
The Indiana Pacers enjoyed a plethora of success during both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 NBA seasons — making back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances and earning the No. 1 seed in the East in 2014.
Stephenson was the team’s starting guard at the two-spot in 2013, and played a pivotal role in the Pacers’ success in those two seasons — before jumping ship and signing a three-year contract with the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 offseason.
Stephenson’s career never really took off from that point — eventually being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after an abysmal first season with the Hornets, then later traded again to the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2015 season.
Now as a free agent yet again, Stephenson is open to signing a multiyear deal with the Pacers, per Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star.
"Stephenson has discussed the possibility of agreeing to a multiyear deal with the Pacers, a league source confirmed to IndyStar. Stephenson, a combo guard who became an unrestricted free agent last week after Memphis declined his team option, is open to returning to the Pacers next season.“That’s home for him,” the source said of what Indianapolis means to Stephenson. “He absolutely loves the town and the organization.”"
While fans and Stephenson himself would probably like the idea of a reunion, he may not have the same fit on the team that he did two season ago — a Pacers team that has enough depth at both the two and three. Unless Bird moves someone around, Stephenson may find himself towards the bottom of the rotation. Here’s a look at some of the players at the two and three who are currently on the team’s roster:
- Monta Ellis (SG)
- Rodney Stuckey (SG)
- Glenn Robinson III (SG)
- Paul George (SF)
- C.J. Miles (SF)
- Georges Niang (SF)
As it can be seen, Stephenson may not have the exact fit that he could be looking for on this Pacers team. He could be the backup shooting guard next to Ellis, but that would require Bird to likely move either Stuckey or Robinson — something that could be viewed as a risk given Stephenson’s ability over the last two years to be consistently inconsistent.
It’s not definitive that Bird and the Pacers are getting the player that averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds that they had in 2014 by re-signing Stephenson. He could either produce in an effective manner as he once did under Bird, or be the wildly inconsistent player that he has been for this latter part of his career.
If one thing is certain however, Bird isn’t afraid to make moves and take a few risks — and he may very well think that a reunion with his former player is well worth that risk.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019