Despite a rousing 39-point win against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, Indiana Pacers fans couldn’t help but chant “We want Lance” at the end of the rout. That was a chant directed toward the front office, hoping to persuade them to sign longtime NBA forward Lance Stephenson, who has played in China during the 2019-20 season.
According to Scott Agness of The Athletic, the Pacers are not considering a reunion with the Brooklynite, having lost his biggest advocate in former president Larry Bird, who is now partially retired and living in Florida.
Stephenson, who is averaging 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in his lone year with the Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, is open to a reunion with the Pacers and a potential return to the NBA, but that situation looks direr by the minute.
Despite a season-ending injury to Jeremy Lamb that opens up an opportunity for Stephenson, the reality is that Stephenson went without making an NBA roster this past summer for a reason. His game was filled with inconsistencies and the role as a dynamic talent off the bench he once had with the Pacers is not longer viable in an NBA world that now is dominated by spacing.
Any newcomer to the Pacers will need to adjust to the rotation, which will take time, and in his case valuable minutes to achieve. Indiana already has a lot on its hands with reincorporating a struggling Victor Oladipo, and adding Stephenson to that list would be just another headache to add to a slew of issues that plague the Pacers at the moment.