Indianapolis, IN - The Indiana Pacers have locked up David West, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and George Hill with long-term contracts the last two offseasons, and it sounds like they may add Lance Stephenson to the mix this coming offseason. According to Mark Montieth of Pacers.com, Lance Stephenson was quoted as saying that he will return to the Indiana Pacers.
“I don’t think about that. It’s a long season, I’m not thinking nothing about contracts. I’m going to stay with the Pacers, so I’m not even thinking about the contract.” - Lance Stephenson
Stephenson then backed that up with another big comment. When asked whether or not he’d pass up on larger offers from other teams to remain with the Pacers, he stated, “I’m staying with the Pacers.” Lance Stephenson has had his maturity both on and off the court questioned since he joined the Pacers a few years back, but there is no more room for doubt that he has grown up.
There are very few professional athletes who would say flat out that they would turn down larger deals to remain loyal to the team that gave them a chance. While it’s much easier to say that you’ll turn down the offers than actually do it, it makes sense for Stephenson to stay with the Pacers
First of all, he has formed a very close relationship with Larry Bird who has helped mentor him both on and off the court. Bird has stayed in contact with Stephenson and helped him reach the point where he is in his career now. Second, the Pacers are going to be championship contenders for the foreseeable future and it would be stupid to pass up the opportunity to play for such a talented team. Thirdly and finally, Danny Granger is entering the final deal of his contract and Stephenson would be the obvious starter at the shooting guard position for quite some time to come with a long-term deal.
Overall, this deal is likely going to get done. The Pacers are not going to have a ton of money to give to Stephenson, but they will make it as fair of a deal as possible. Pacers fans have embraced Lance Stephenson and would hate to see him go, and I don’t think there’s too much to worry about following these comments from Lance Stephenson on his future in Indiana.