NBA rumors: Lance Stephenson signs another 10-day contract with Indiana

More on Lance Stephenson Free Agency

Marc Stein: The Pacers are expected to keep Lance Stephenson for the rest of the season, league sources say, thanks to his very strong play in this third Indiana stint that has won admiration from Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. Stephenson has one day left on his initial Indiana hardship deal.
Chris Vivlamore: In other roster news, Lance Stephenson and Malcolm Hill were not signed to second 10-day contracts (they expired yesterday). Stephenson is reportedly headed to Pacers.
As COVID-19 has hit the Pacers and sent five players into the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, the team plans to turn to a fan favorite to help them in the meantime. The Pacers plan to sign guard Lance Stephenson to a 10-day hardship exception, league sources told Fieldhouse Files. It will be his third time with the organization that drafted him 40th overall in 2010.
Stephenson, 31, is in Cleveland and finishing out his 10-day with the Atlanta Hawks. It was former Pacers head coach Nate McMillan who brought him back in the league, his first NBA contract since 2018. And Stephenson’s third stint with Indiana will begin in the same fashion as his second — on the road in Cleveland. Their next game is Sunday at 6:00 p.m. They will then play at New York on Tuesday, and his first home game will be Wednesday against his hometown team, the Brooklyn Nets.
Michael Singer: Can confirm Lance Stephenson is getting a call-up with the Hawks, as @Marc Stein reported. Stephenson had been a huge positive for Grand Rapids and Jason Terry. It was apparent when I talked to him a couple weeks ago how hungry he was to get back to the league.
One game recently against the Wisconsin Herd is a very small sample, but on that particular night, all Stephenson did was play. He didn’t play terribly well but there were no flourishes, no celebrations, no playing the air guitar. He still has a playground influence to his game; that’s never going to change and it probably shouldn’t change, but on this night, he was playing it straight. According to his coach, former NBA player Jason Terry, he’s been playing it (mostly) straight all year. “You still see it every now and then, but as far as him trying to change the perception of him, look, that’s in him,” Terry said. “Like, that’s part of being a kid, loving the game, learning the game in the city — I mean, he should never change that about himself. It’s like if I went out there and hit a couple of threes and didn’t fly off like ‘The Jet,’ that wouldn’t be me.
Stephenson acknowledges he did some things that were curious and, well, fun, but he doesn’t want his career epitaph to be: He blew in LeBron’s ear. He wants to be remembered as a uniquely talented player who helped his teams win. He wants to change the perception of himself. He wants to do it now, do it here in Grand Rapids, where he is viewed as a veteran leader on a team with six rookies. “I feel like a lot of people, all they want to talk about is the funny stuff or the stuff with LeBron,” he said. “I know it’s exciting and fun, but honestly, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Like, you haven’t asked me about it, but it feels like all the interviews are about that. I just want a different perception out there. I want people to talk about what I can do to help teams.
Back in March of 2020, you were reportedly 99 percent set to sign with the Pacers. Do you still want to end your career in Indiana? Lance Stephenson: Just being in the NBA is going to be great for me. It doesn’t matter what team I end my career with. But you know, Indiana is like home for me. It will always be great to go back there. My goal is to get on an NBA team, help them out, and get a ring.
Stephenson worked out for 10 teams during the offseason as he looked to secure an NBA contract after a year out, having last played in China for the Liaoning Flying Leopards. He received interest, but when an opportunity didn’t pan out, he elected to enter the G-League Draft. While he’ll begin the season in Grand Rapids, he has his eyes firmly set on an NBA return and still harbors championship aspirations.
Scott Agness: Lance Stephenson went through a workout for teams today in Las Vegas. A few had interest in bringing him on for SL. He’s been working out in Indy. What he’s highlighting - maturity - eagerness to be vet on team, help young guys - in incredible shape - do whatever it takes to win
Stephenson has been reportedly shooting 500 threes a day, 100 at a time, and making 85 to the low 90s of them consistently. Associates say he has matured after being a teammate of LeBron James and Rajon Rondo with the Lakers. Hopefully, he gets another chance because his skills suit this era of playing small forwards and big shooting guards at power forward.
The Brooklyn native, who turns 30 in September, was “99 percent” set to sign a deal with the Indiana Pacers before the pandemic hit in March, but was not permitted to sign with the league after spending the first part of this season in China, he and his agent said Friday in a joint phone interview. “Yeah, definitely, I wanted to play in Orlando,” Stephenson said.
Reggie Brown, his agent with Priority Sports, said Stephenson was on the brink of re-signing with the Pacers in March. “We were in serious conversations for a third-time’s-a-charm return to the Pacers,” Brown said. “We were offered buyout money from the team in China from the Pacers and we were 99 percent done. And then the pandemic took place, and the NBA decided that no overseas players would be allowed to participate in the 22-team bubble return. They would only take players who played last season or this season in the NBA and/or the G League.”
He is currently working out in Indianapolis in hopes of a return to the NBA, ideally with the Pacers, for the 2020-21 season slated to start in December, possibly in a bubble. “My goal is just to shape in shape, stay working, stay ready for next season,” Stephenson said. Stephenson said he is open to playing overseas, but his goal is to return to the NBA. “Lance 100 percent deserves to be in the NBA as a rotation guy, not just on a team,” Brown said. “Whatever role he had in the NBA going forward, he would accept it but he definitely belongs in the NBA. It’s not even close.
Scott Agness: 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).
The best option to replace him likely will be on their roster. The reality is that anyone unsigned right now would have a learning curve, and there’s a reason they’re without a job. Pacers fans are pushing for a third act from Lance Stephenson; there was even a chant of “We want Lance” at the end of Tuesday’s win, but don’t get your hopes up. League sources say that is not under consideration.
Stephenson, who has most recently played in China, lost his biggest advocate within the franchise in Larry Bird, who is now partially retired and living in Naples, Fla. But sources told The Athletic Indiana that Stephenson would welcome a reunion as he’s eager to return to the NBA.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Free agent guard Lance Stephenson seeking return to NBA following season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and shot 52 percent from field. He’s willing to work out to prove his value.
Lance Stephenson: 🔥
Emiliano Carchia: OFFICIAL: Lance Stephenson signs with Liaoning in China
In the days and weeks leading up to the option trigger date, Stephenson had not received any assurances from the Pacers front office about his $4.3 million option, sources said. We’ve all been through the job-interview process. You know when a company wants you. That Monday, Stephenson was at the Pacers’ facility to lift weights and get shots up. He left about 30 minutes before word got out, according to a source, that they weren’t guaranteeing his contract for the 2018-19 season and he would soon become an unrestricted free agent.
Free-agent swingman Lance Stephenson has agreed to join up with LeBron James to pursue a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell ESPN. Stephenson will sign a one-year, $4.5 million deal, the sources said.
Bobby Marks: The $4.4M contract for Lance Stephenson is for the room midlevel exception. The Lakers only have the minimum exception unless they renounce Julius Randle.
Darren Wolfson: Among many FAs the #Twolves have registered some level of interest: Tolliver, Nick Young, Lance Stephenson, Dante Cunningham, Amir Johnson, Trevor Booker, Jabari Bird, Ennis.
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: With Indiana declining team option on Lance Stephenson, Tyreke Evans and Will Barton are expected to be two of its free-agent targets.
Scott Agness: Thad Young has two weeks to decide on his Player Option. Stay with the team for one more year (at $13.7M), sign a new deal, or go elsewhere. Also by June 29th: Team Options due on Lance Stephenson, Joe Young. And Bojan Bogdanovic’s contract becomes guaranteed if not waived.
Bird, along with general manager Kevin Pritchard, always listened to Stephenson and his agents. Bird showed his faith in Stephenson once a roster spot became available, signing him Thursday to a three-year, $12 million deal. “A big part of this is Larry,” said Mark Bartelstein, one of Stephenson’s two agents. “They did a great job of staying connected and letting us know their interest. You always want to go where you’re wanted and I think Larry and Kevin were so consistent in telling us that (and) it led us to today.”
“Larry and Kevin are genuine guys and they believe in relationships,” Bartelstein said. “I think Larry, being a player in this league, knew what Lance was looking for at that time and I think there was always respect. When Larry believes in you, he’s always going to be a fan and he doesn’t hold grudges.”
“If Lance had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have left the Pacers,” Bartelstein said. “You don’t often get a second chance and Lance knows that and is really appreciative and grateful for that.”
Stephenson, according to the league source, is thrilled to have a second chance to play for the Pacers. Stephenson spent Wednesday talking with several people in the organization to express his excitement and prepare of the most critical stretch of the team’s season.
Nate Taylor: Nate McMillan said he had the upmost respect for Rodney Stuckey. McMillan wouldn't discuss Lance Stephenson since a deal isn't finalized.
Lance Stephenson’s ankle is getting close to being healed, which means a decision is looming for the Wolves. Stephenson, signed to a 10-day contract Feb. 8, played in four games before the injury against Cleveland Feb. 14. He has been rehabbing ever since. The Wolves can sign him to another 10-day contract or for the season once he’s healthy, if they so choose. Thibodeau said such a decision would come in the next day or two.
Jordan Farmar impressed the Cavs during their free-agent tryout for point guards Wednesday, a source said, and the 30-year-old former Laker may be under consideration for a contract. The Cavs brought in Farmar, Mario Chalmers, and Kirk Hinrich for a workout, with the idea of potentially signing one as the veteran backup to Kyrie Irving the franchise has looked for all season. Also attending was Lance Stephenson, a wing player.
As of last night, a source said the Cavs weren't sure if they would sign one of the four players immediately or by March 1, the deadline for free agents to eligible for the playoffs. But the Cavs have had an open roster spot for more than three weeks, and as of now only have 11 healthy bodies. Any of the four could be the choice, but it appears Farmar acquitted himself well.
LeBron James says he supports the Cleveland Cavaliers' creative solution to the dearth of playmakers on their roster by holding a midseason free-agent minicamp Wednesday, but he did not favor one candidate over another. Cleveland will welcome free-agent guards Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich and Jordan Farmar, as well as forward Lance Stephenson, for a workout Wednesday afternoon.
Stephenson was an instigator on those Indiana Pacers teams that the Heat faced in the playoffs for three consecutive postseasons, from 2012 to 2014, and he gained notoriety for his antics to try to get under James' skin, including blowing in the superstar's ear during game play. Stephenson averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 assists and 3 rebounds for the New Orleans Pelicans in six games this season before needing groin surgery, causing the Pelicans to cut him in November because of roster constraints. Would James have a problem teaming up with his former foe? "I just want to win, man," James said. "That's all that matters to me. I got no personal problems with nobody."
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