It was announced early on Wednesday that the Indiana Pacers were releasing guard Rodney Stuckey.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) March 29, 2017
Stuckey had been suffering from a left patellar tendon strain, which was expected to keep him out for four to six weeks. As we are only 17 days away from the playoffs, the Pacers would rather have a healthy body.
It appears that the healthy body will be Lance Stephenson.
Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson agree to 3-year, $12 million deal, league sources tell ESPN. First two guaranteed. Team option on third.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 29, 2017
“Born Ready” played only 61 games with the Hornets and averaged only 8.2 points per game. Seeing as how scoring was the main reason Stephenson was brought into Charlotte, it was not only his first season with the team, but his last as well.
Since his last season with the Pacers, Stephenson has bounced from place to place, playing with the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and most recently, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Re-signing Lance Stephenson is a solid move for the Pacers. It certainly gives off the impression that they want to win now. If team president Larry Bird doesn’t want to lose Paul George, Indiana is going to have to put up a solid fight in the postseason.
Lance Stephenson could be a real breath of fresh air on the Pacers pic.twitter.com/EIPnkh5iaM
— Jake Whitacre (@jakewhitacre) March 29, 2017
The Pacers signed him to a three-year deal, so they must see something in him that the other 29 teams have not. Perhaps this is a solid move considering the fact that Paul George didn’t want to see Lance go in the first place.
The following is from ESPN.
‘Paul George believes the Pacers will be a stronger title contender with Lance Stephenson — and all of his idiosyncrasies.
So on Saturday, George followed the company line and urged his friend and teammate to re-sign with Indiana.
“It’s all on Lance’s plate,” George said as he took a break from the basketball pro camp he headlined in suburban Indianapolis. “I didn’t have to deal with this because I was a restricted free agent. It’s really up to Lance, but I will say I do want him to come back.”‘
Lance left behind somewhat of a legacy in Indiana. With the Eastern Conference having very vulnerable top-seeded teams, perhaps the Indiana Pacers can once again be a serious threat to LeBron James.