Born Ready may become Reborn Ready soon. Nate Taylor of the Indy Star reports that Lance Stephenson is considering a return to the Pacers as he mulls offers from multiple teams. Both sides appear to be interested in the possible reunion.
Stephenson has played for three teams since turning down the Pacers 5 year, $44 million deal just two years ago. After a challenging year with the Hornets, he was traded to the Clippers. The Clippers then traded him during last season to the injury-riddled Grizzlies where Stephenson started to find his groove as a player again. He averaged over 14 points per game while with Memphis, but the team declined his $9.4 million team option which made him an unrestricted free agent.
More details will be posted as they become available.
Taylor reports that it is a multi-year deal on the table for Stephenson.
“That’s home for him,” Taylor’s source told the Indy Star about Stephenson’s feeling for Indianapolis. “He absolutely loves the town and the organization.”
Stephenson told VigilantSports.com, “If given (chance) I would love to come back home.” He later said he’s “just waiting for the call.”
At first glance, the roster wouldn’t seem to warrant yet another ball dominant guard as Jeff Teague, Rodney Stuckey, and Monta Ellis are already on the roster. The Pacers have been rumored to be in trade discussions for Rudy Gay involving both Ellis and Stuckey, but the Kings aren’t interested at this time in either player. Perhaps it’s possible that Bird will look to shop Ellis and/or Stuckey hard if Stephenson returns.
It’s also possible that this is part of Bird’s plan to acquire as many “playmakers” as he can. Kevin Pritchard talked about the Pacers desire to have 4 or 5 playmakers on the court at all times next season. Stephenson certainly has to ability to make plays for others as he led the league in triple doubles in his last season with the Pacers.
This may be a flawed plan if there isn’t enough shooting to surround these playmakers, but this seems to be the direction Bird is going. In his favor, Stephenson is capable of playing great defense on the wings and regained his long range shooting stroke (39%) last season after an atrocious year in Charlotte (17%). He could be the 3 and D wing the Pacers need.
No matter what happens a reunion is bound to be entertaining as Lance always is at least that.