Pacers Doubt Wisdom Of Re-Signing Stephenson

May 28 2014 at 3:40pm CDT By Chuck Myron

There are many within the Pacers organization who don’t believe the team should give Lance Stephenson a lucrative long-term contract this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency, sources tell Mike Wells and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The concern stems from a perception that he’s acted selfishly. Many within the franchise believe that he changed his approach on the court at midseason in an attempt to enhance his value as a free agent, which he thinks took a hit when he failed to be selected for the All-Star Game, Wells and Windhorst hear.

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird indicated on multiple occasions early in the season that the team planned to re-sign the guard, who’ll command a significant raise from the $1MM he made this season. Bird has been mostly silent in the second half of the season as the Pacers flatlined and Stephenson’s game changed. His assist ratio dropped from 25.2 to 20.2, per NBA.com, as Wells and Windhorst point out. Teammates grew weary of his act, and the result was the opposite of what Stephenson apparently intended. His value reportedly slipped from that of a player capable of commanding eight-figure annual salaries to one likely to end up in the $7-8MM range. He tumbled from seventh in the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings to out of the top 10.

Indiana has more than $60MM in commitments for next season, and while the rise in the projected luxury tax line to $77MM gives the team breathing room, a new deal for Stephenson, even at $7MM a year, would put a serious crimp in the Pacers’ flexibility. Ownership has taken a hard line against paying the luxury tax, so Indiana wouldn’t have much room for significant upgrades if Stephenson returns at market value next season.

14 thoughts on “Pacers Doubt Wisdom Of Re-Signing Stephenson

  1. They need Lance. He does a little bit of everything and finding players like that isn’t easy. Yeah I don’t pay him over $10M, but I would go offer somewhere around $6-$7M a year.

    Chances are a team out there will go into the $10M range and his time in Indy is over. Pacers need a PG and should maybe try and use Lance to get one if they don’t plan to keep him. G.Hill can be moved to SG if they need him too.

  2. how about the fact that he was a mediocre player prior to his contract year? does everyone think he just happened to get better and will continue to do so? i see him as a very expensive bench warmer for someone next year

        1. Nothing over 10mil. At minimum he’ll get at least 8m on the market even if he is a RFA. I can see several teams throwing 10mil a year at him.

          1. He’s unrestricted, so that furthers your argument that he’ll see $10MM bids.

            –Chuck

          2. so you figure if he gets a 10+million a yr offer

            he’ll get a 4 yrs 40 million dollar contract.ouch

            good luck to the team that offers him that.

            i rather resign nick young for the spark of the bench and Thabo Sefolosha for defense, and that might only cost you 10 million combined

  3. micth kupchak needs to keep eyes on this situation. if he can be had for a decent amount between 5-7 million a yr the lakers should jump on this. he’s young and may not have hit his peak yet

  4. If Pacers don’t have Lance they better upgrade from George Hill to a true point guard. This team won be a top3 team in the East without Lance.

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