Lance Stephenson continues floating through his rookie season under the radar on the inactive list for the Indiana Pacers. One reason for this, along with his inexperience and defensive limitations, is Stephenson's pending court date on February 25th to face assault charges stemming from an incident with a girlfriend this past August.
Details that emerged from the police report at the time of Stephenson's arrest were brutal. It seemed unconscionable for the Pacers to stand by Stephenson if the reported story was true and after reading those details I was ready for the team to part ways with the rookie. Since they didn't , I always assumed the team either had a different story or were just giving Stephenson his day in court in the interest of fairness and/or the easiest way to nullify his contract.
After hearing David Morway discuss Stephenson today on the Dan Dakich show, it appears the team is indeed working off of a different version of events. Morway couldn't discuss any details of the case, of course, but as he strained to couch his remarks he said quite a bit.
This summer, you ran into a situation where it is still unresolved I really can't talk about it much, other than to tell you that I think a lot of things go on and the media, as you know, jumps on a lot of things that might or might not be accurate. When this gets resolved we're confident that, had things gone down the way they were reported in the media, I can tell you that Larry and I wouldn't put up with it. We're not going to do that, we're going to be very focused on making sure we have the right kind of guys in this franchise. Character is everything to us, character and culture are everything to us. We're going to make tough decisions, if it doesn't work out we won't have guys here, but we're also going to let young guys like that try to grow, try to develop, try to do the right things if we feel like they are making those efforts every day.
From those comments, it sounds like the Pacers would be done with Stephenson if they were able to verify the initial reports. Apparently, their investigation of the situation unearthed a different version of the story. Morway certainly didn't run away from the topic of Stephenson when it was raised. In fact, it seemed like he had to be restrained from screaming, "He's INNOCENT!"
We'll have to wait to see how it plays out, but I found it enlightening that Morway felt comfortable talking about Stephenson's future with the team, which he did a little later in the interview when discussing all of the young players currently developing outside of the playing rotation. Morway touches on several topics other than L Boogie, so listen to the whole thing here.