The future of Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson has become basketball’s hottest topic of conversation this weekend.
Stephenson, who is set to become a restricted free agent, is obviously a very talented player, but some of his antics on and off of the court has caused the Pacers to think twice about bringing Stephenson back. During the Pacers’ Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Miami Heat, Stephenson said he hoped Dwyane Wade’s knees flared up, claimed to be inside the head of LeBron James and even blew on James’ ear.
Stephenson hopes to be back with the Pacers next season, telling reporters he “loves Indiana.”
Although Pacers’ star Paul George’s comments were overblown, he was hesitant when asked about Stephenson’s future.
Despite all of Stephenson’s actions and his inconsistent play, it seems like most of his teammates still want him back.
“I think so, I hope so,” David West told Zak Keefer of The USA Today. “He’s a huge part of the progress that we made. He’s a great young talent. He fits with this group so hopefully we get him back.”
West isn’t the only Pacer who wants Stephenson back.
“In our eyes (right now), Lance is still here, still a part of this organization,” George Hill said. “We love Lance as a teammate and we hope that the organization brings him back with this group. He’s a big part of this team’s success.”
Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season while shooting 49.1% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 71.1% from the charity stripe in the regular season. In the postseason, he put up 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He shot 45.5% from the field, 35.8% from downtown and 71.4% from the free throw line.