The Indiana Pacers want to retain Lance Stephenson, and Lance Stephenson wants to play for the Indiana Pacers. So while getting Lance inked to a new contract seems a simple proposition on the surface, salary cap considerations mean the Pacers could be out-bid for his services on the open market. Whether that proves the case or not, Indy certainly isn’t leaving anything to chance. In hopes of wooing the 23 year-old star back to Indianapolis, the team rented a local theater and are showing Stephenson and his family and friends an original movie based on his time as a Pacer.
Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star has more on the Pacers’ unique presentation to Stephenson.
Sometime shortly after midnight Tuesday, Lance Stephenson will be seated with his family and friends in a movie theater. The lights will go down and the ‘Born Ready’ life story will flash before Stephenson’s eyes on the big screen…
nside the entertainment complex based in suburban Indianapolis, the Pacers’ commitment begins in earnest where a private party will be held and a love letter set to moving pictures will play with the hopes of keeping Stephenson. The movie will feature moments from when Stephenson arrived in Indiana to the point he is now, a potential Eastern Conference All-Star and a key figure in a core that can compete for a title.
Even amid the rumors, signings, and trades of the free agency period, tidbits like this are what make the NBA’s offseason the gift that keeps on giving. What is Lance’s snack of choice? Is the movie animated? Is Roy Hibbert narrating? Is Dwyane Wade the villain? Did Larry Bird produce or direct? The questions are endless.
Perhaps of greater importance in Buckner’s story than details of the Pacers’ original film is that Stephenson’s agent, Alberto Ebanks, says that his client’s utmost priority is winning a championship. And the more he and Lance think about it, Ebanks says, Indy is the place he’ll get the best chance to do so.
“He expects to be in a position with a team to compete for a championship,” Ebanks said. “If he stays with the Pacers, he doesn’t have to look very far with the No. 1 team coming out of the East. You want to make sure that there’s a good fit. The more I describe what he’s looking for, the more that the picture perfect next place for him is right where he is right now. It’s just a matter of can we can come to terms with the Pacers. If we can, there’s no need to really change something that’s been working.”
The Pacers took a step toward ensuring they’ll be able to agree with Stephenson by refusing Evan Turner a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent and saving $8.7 million in the process. Barring Stephenson receiving a shocking maximum-level contract offer, Indiana should have enough cap space under the luxury tax to match the terms other teams will present him even while adding additional players. The question now is whether or not they’ll do it. While all signs point to yes, crazier things have happened in free agency than Lance and the Pacers parting ways.
Having said that, we haven’t watched this movie. Maybe it’s a masterpiece and will ensure Stephenson stays in Indy, or maybe it’s a trainwreck and will push him elsewhere. Only one thing is for sure – we really, really want to see it.
Would you watch the Pacers’ movie about Lance?
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