As the Pacers continue dealing with a variety of injured players, it appears they are turning to an old friend to lend a hand. The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted out the news on Sunday afternoon.
Lance Stephenson is in strong talks on a potential deal with Indiana, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. No agreement or decision is finalized. Stephenson would also need clearance from his Chinese team and FIBA.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 8, 2020
Lance Stephenson has been back in the U.S. for a couple of months and according to his Instagram feed has spent most of his time in New York or Indy with plenty of workout videos hoping for a call. Recently, an Instagram story appeared to indicate he was headed for a team workout in Indy.
So this news isn’t completely shocking, but it does raise several questions for the Pacers who on the surface, don’t seem to have room for Lance regardless of how much the fan base clamors to add him.
Which leads me to the first question: Would signing Lance be a move made to market the team to fans for the remainder of the season?
Considering Malcolm Brogdon is banged up and week-to-week with just five weeks remaining in the regular season, the end game for this season is looking dicey at best. Yes, Vic is back but not close to his old self, let alone guaranteed to hold up for the remainder of the season. If the strain of all of the injuries (don’t forget Jeremy Lamb) slowly leaks the life out of the season, Lance will be someone fans can rally around.
However, what would adding Lance mean for young guards like Edmond Sumner, Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long? These players haven’t had much opportunity and it could be knocking considering the circumstances. If they don’t get an extended chance now, not sure they ever will.
These are just some initial thoughts as to why the Pacers would turn to Lance when he doesn’t seem like a strong fit for what the team actually needs. His toughness and energy are always a plus, but his ball stickiness and lack of 3-point shooting won’t help any of the Pacers offensive lineups.
But if he does return for a third time, it will be entertaining. That’s the constant with Lance and the reason so many fans adore the guy. I’ve often mentioned how I’ve seen him in gyms all over the city and his interactions with kids and parents have helped solidify his cult hero status in the community.
Look no further than a few weeks ago, when his appearance courtside at a game garnered this reaction.
What do you think about the Pacers possibly adding Lance?