Lance Stephenson has yet to officially take the court for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he’s already being asked to comment about a potential return to the Indiana Pacers.
From the Indianapolis Star‘s Dana Benbow:
Stephenson was in his light pink T-shirt and rose-colored shorts – the color of love. He loves Indy. It’s that first love – he was drafted to the Pacers in 2010, 40th overall pick — who never quite leaves your heart.
And so, he said Wednesday, if that one-year deal he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers wraps up and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard calls Stephenson up with a plea: We want you back, Lance?
“Oh, of course. This is home. Of course,” Stephenson said at his thank you party inside Incrediplex, a sports and entertainment venue in Indianapolis. “I would always want to come back here.”
It sure sounds like Stephenson is over comments Pritchard made after he first left with the Lakers, which prompted the guard to clap back with a since-deleted Instagram post. (Benbow has all the info on that matter in the article.) And that should…come as no surprise.
Stephenson already left the Pacers once, only to return and come close to recapturing his previous groove. He could come back again. You never know. The Pacers are in line for a bunch of cap space next summer and could find that, after spending on some bigger names, they’re in need of a cheap bench option.
For Stephenson specifically, though, he’s not really in position to write off any team. It wouldn’t even matter if he didn’t love Indiana as much as he clearly does. He’s not an unwanted asset, but he’s not exactly among the league’s hottest commodities. His jumper is questionable, he’s a wild-card playmaker, and his defense is, at this point, a tick or five overrated. Playing next to LeBron James could inflate his value ahead of next summer. For now, however, he’s smart to keep all of his options on the table—meaning he shouldn’t rule out playing for any squad, let alone the one on which he’s experienced the most individual, and collective, success.