Pacers’ possible interest in Lance Stephenson revealed
The Indiana Pacers were close to a deal to bring in Lance Stephenson to cover for the injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb prior to the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season. However, per Scott Agness, signing the former Pacer isn’t possible given that he is ineligible to play.
No, Lance Stephenson is not an option to replace Oladipo. Source close to the situation confirms that he is ineligible.
On March 11, the morning the season was suspended, I reported how he was nearing a deal to return (after injuries to Brogdon and Lamb).
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) July 3, 2020
Victor Oladipo is not going to suit up when the NBA resumes play in Disney World in Orlando, Florida at the end of the month. The All-Star guard expressed concerns regarding possible injury as his main reason of not playing in the games. Despite opting out of the resumption of the season, Oladipo will reportedly still travel with the team to Orlando.
Oladipo recently returned from a torn quad that forced him to miss majority of the 2019-20 season. He came back in late January, but was clearly not back to his All-Star form. In 13 games, he averaged just 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists while shooting 39.1 percent from the field.
Oladipo’s decision to sit out puts the Pacers in a tight situation. By traveling to Orlando, Oladipo is still technically part of the team. They would not be able to replace him unless they release someone from their current roster. With that, the Pacers will need to make some tough roster decisions if they want to remain competitive.
The Pacers will enter the bubble games tied for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia 76ers. Losing Oladipo is certainly huge, but bringing him back slowly is probably the best for his full recovery.
Stephenson, meanwhile, could have been a solid replacement for Oladipo. He brings a ton of energy on the floor and is a capable playmaker at the guard position. The former second round pick made a name for himself during his first stint with the Pacers from 2010 to 2014. He had the best campaign of his career in the 2013-14 season, where he became an integral part of Indiana’s success that year.
Stephenson last played in the for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018-19 season. He suited up for the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) this past season.