Kevin Pritchard says talks with Lance Stephenson ongoing until LeBron James’ camp called
The Indiana Pacers parted ways with shooting guard Lance Stephenson this offseason after he decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Not surprisingly, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard feels small forward Leron James had a lot to do with it.
Pritchard says the Pacers were open to keeping Stephenson around. However, he thinks the call from James had initially sealed the deal for the Lakers, via Mark Montieth of NBA.com.
“It’s always a balance, right? With Lance (Stephenson), we had a lot of conversations with his agent and with him during that time. There was a chance we were going to bring him back, but I think he got that call from LeBron or LeBron’s agent. That was a powerful thing, and we don’t blame him.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to Pritchard’s comments. It is not every day that the greatest basketball player on Earth gives such a personal request. The prospect of joining James and one of the most storied franchises in the NBA was too much for him to pass up.
Regardless, the situation in Los Angeles is still rather peculiar. The NBA world is well-aware of the history between James and Stephenson. However, the Lakers went full-throttle by surrounding their star player with a number of his former Eastern Conference rivals. James has given every indication that he has welcomed them with open arms.
Meanwhile, Indiana will undoubtedly miss one of their favorite players this season. He leaves as the final piece of one of the most promising eras in franchise history. Fortunately, it is safe to assume that both have high expectations for the 2018-19 NBA season.