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#pounditThursday, June 1, 2023

Lance Stephenson was surprised, upset about Pacers declining his option

Though he has now joined LeBron James and the Merry Pranksters in LA, Lance Stephenson is admitting that his Indiana Pacers exit was less than ideal.

In an interview with Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports that ran on Thursday, the Lakers swingman opened up about Indiana’s decision this summer to decline his team option for the 2018-19 NBA season.

“Ah, man. I never … I was even surprised when they declined my option,” said Stephenson. “Just to be a free agent again this year was like, ‘Man, again…” I was definitely upset, but you move on from stuff like that, and you learn and you get stronger from it.”

Stephenson did however leave the door open for a potential return to the Pacers eventually, saying of the possibility, “You never know, man.”

The 27-year-old had spent six seasons with the Pacers across two stints, taking part in many playoff battles with them and becoming a fan favorite. However, the team chose to decline his fairly cheap $4.3 million option for next season in a decision that drew sharp criticism from some.

Stephenson then went on to sign a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers. If you believe what Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said recently though, the team may have just wanted to preserve flexibility by declining Stephenson’s option and intended to bring him back.


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