Larry Bird wants Lance Stephenson to return to Indiana Pacers


Since the Indiana Pacers were unceremoniously eliminated from the 2014 NBA Playoffs, much of the focus on the team has shifted to the future of rising star swingman Lance Stephenson. Over the weekend, Stephenson was quoted as saying that he “definitely” wanted to return to Indiana, and after some speculation to the contrary, it appears that Larry Bird and the Pacers organization would like him to return.

The 23-year-old Stephenson has made his way into the headlines for a variety of reasons in the recent past, and they are wide-ranging from some spectacular memes to impressive play on the court at times during the series against the Heat. For the season, the former Cincinnati Bearcat failed to post even a 15 PER (league average), but he was able to put together an impressive statistical profile that included 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with above-average defense.

Still, there are mixed reviews about Lance Stephenson’s ability to make the next step or even maintain this current level, and there are real questions about his mental make-up including some off-the-court transgressions in his past. There is little doubt that Stephenson’s production from the 2013-2014 season would be more than enough to warrant a contract worth tens of millions of dollars, but the Pacers are also a financially strapped team by NBA standards, and the fit will be an interesting one.

Larry Bird has put the stamp of approval on bringing Lance Stephenson back, and if both sides are telling the truth, it could be a quick “free agent” process for the talented wing.