Bird & Vogel Want Lance Stephenson Back

06.03.14 3 years ago
Donnie Walsh, Herb Simon, Larry Bird

Donnie Walsh, Herb Simon, Larry Bird (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Pacers general manager and greatest small forward of all time (at least through next week) Larry Bird held court with reporters yesterday after exit interviews with the team and opened up about Frank Vogel and most of the Pacers roster, which he wants to keep together. The biggest obstacle is re-signing Lance Stephenson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, but Bird and Vogel want to keep him even with all the headaches in the Conference Finals.

The Indianapolis Star‘s Candace Buckner live-tweeted much of the press conference, and mentioned coach Frank Vogel’s hope Stephenson returns:

On the subject of Vogel’s job security, which many felt was in a precarious position as the Pacers struggled down the stretch run of the regular season before barely getting past Atlanta in seven games to start the playoffs, Bird was pretty adamant:

Bird was less sure about point guard George Hill, who is signed through the 2016-17 season, telling assembled reporters:

Before adding he daydreams about Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo:

The biggest question mark is Lance, though, and Bird was pretty clear with reporters:

But at the end of the day, even after Lance said he’d like to stay in Indiana, he could get a sweetheart deal elsewhere the Pacers simple can’t match; Indy has $64 million locked in for next year with cap holds, which puts them over the cap, but well short of the luxury tax threshold, expected to approach $77 million for next season.

Still, with all of Lance’s antics during the Conference Finals, it’ll be interesting to see what he can pull down in an open market, but one that’s tethered to younger GM’s concerned about the luxury tax, and for some — the repeater tax.

(More on Bird, Vogel and the whole Pacers team at the Indianapolis Star)

Will Lance stay in Indiana this summer?

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