It’s safe to say Lance Stephenson has worked his way back into the Indiana Pacers’ good graces. Despite being a key cog on their last Eastern Conference Finals teams, Stephenson may be in position to stay with the franchise as it attempts to reconstruct a contender from the ground up.
The Pacers reacquired Stephenson late in the season after he’d spent time as a free agent booking tryouts after failed stints with multiple teams. He returned and became a rotation regular again, playing pivotal playoff minutes. Now that a Paul George trade or free agency defection is imminent, general manager Kevin Pritchard needs to identify core players for the future.
He may see Stephenson as one of those. The GM reportedly sees Stephenson as a possible answer for the Pacers at point guard, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star reports. The mercurial 26-year-old wing talent has lost 10 pounds, per Doyel.
For Pacers rebuild, source says Kevin Pritchard is considering Lance Stephenson as the point guard. Lance has lost 10-plus lbs, looks great.
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) June 19, 2017
In addition to losing George, the Pacers might be moving on without Jeff Teague. The former Hawks starting point guard is a free agent this offseason and turned 29 earlier this month. A team in the process of a rebuild might not want to match an offer Teague could get on the open market. Although, Teague is an Indianapolis native and said in April after the team’s first-round playoff loss he wants to stay with the team.
But offers will come Teague’s way, and Stephenson is signed for just $4.1 million for the 2017-18 season. The former Pacers second-round pick played for three teams last season and suited up for the Pacers in just 10 games (counting Indiana’s four-game sweep at the hands of Cleveland).