Pacers considering bringing back Lance Stephenson
The Indiana Pacers were not willing to pay Lance Stephenson market value five months ago, and the 24-year-old swingman wound up signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. With Paul George expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2014-2015 season, you have to wonder if the Pacers regret letting Stephenson walk.
You also have to wonder if the Hornets regret signing him. On the heels of reports that Stephenson is already becoming a problem in Charlotte, the Hornets have reportedly placed him on the trade block. According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, Pacers owner Herb Simon would be open to bringing Stephenson back.
“I’d be OK with it but it’s not up to me. Larry (Bird) has to decide if he fits,” Simon said. “First of all, we don’t know if they’re really trading him, at least I don’t know. I know they made some calls and we would have to (figure out) how he fits back into the team. Those are all basketball decisions and Larry and Kevin (Pritchard) are the best to answer that.”
Stephenson’s playing time with the Hornets has been gradually reduced over the last month. It’s unclear what the Hornets would be seeking in return for him, but it probably isn’t much if they are already regretting their decision to sign him.
The issue for Bird and company is it might look bad to give up assets — whatever they may be — for a player you could have easily signed five months ago. But given what some NBA executives have said about Stephenson’s game, it might be worth it for the Pacers to give him another shot.