For whatever reason, the Indiana Pacers have always brought out the best in Lance Stephenson. It’s the place where he evolved from malcontent to borderline All-Star, and where he found redemption after floundering around to several teams and nearly finding himself out of the league entirely.
Even at his best, Lance has always been a package deal. You have to be willing to take the good with the bad, and in free agency this summer, the Pacers clearly decided that the payoff wasn’t sufficient to keep him around any longer, so they decided to decline his option for next season, which was worth about $4.3 million.
And although he certainly had some nice things to say about him on the way out the door, Pacers president Kevin Pritchard also acknowledged just how frustrating it could be to have Lance on the floor sometimes.
Amazingly enough, Lance is now headed to Los Angeles to team up with LeBron James. He and James, of course, have a history that dates back to their Eastern Conference playoff showdowns when LeBron was with the Heat, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue given the NBA’s long tradition of sworn enemies letting bygones be bygones to team up and compete for a title.
The real question is just how much patience LeBron will have for Lance’s antics. He already has to deal with the whole sideshow circus that is the Ball family (for now, at least). Regardless, it promises to be entertaining, which is the one area where Lance will never, ever let you down.