Lance Stephenson is having the best season of his career. The Pacers seem to be the best team in the NBA this season, and Stephenson is a big reason why. All is well in Indiana, and their future is bright.
There is just one stipulation.
Stephenson is set to be an unrestricted free agent, and he will be one of the most coveted players in the market. Teams like the Lakers and Bulls will have the cap space to go after Stephenson, and the Pacers will have to open up their wallet if they want to continue to take advantage of his services.
Stephenson is doing something rare in today’s NBA. He has been very vocal about his wishes to stay in Indiana, and it appears that he will likely stay with the franchise. Even his dad says so.
Lance, the player, says “I’m a Pacer,” and drops no hints that he wants to test the open market. His parents are more blunt.
“We’re optimistic that he will stay here,” Dad says. “I listened to Larry Bird (at the press conference to announce Paul George’s long-term contract last summer) say, ‘Lance, you’ll be sitting here with your dad.’ That’s what we believe. Until otherwise, that’s the plan. Larry Bird said that and we bought into it. We believe it, Lance believes it.”
Stephenson can get big money elsewhere, but he needs the Pacers just as much as they need him. Their system sets him up for success, and with David West, Roy Hibbert, and Paul George in the starting lineup with him, he can face the opponent’s lesser defender. He will likely stay in Indiana after this season, but if they insult him with a low offer, anything can happen.