It is being reported that the Pacers and Stephenson have agreed to a deal to keep the player on the roster for the rest of the season.
Lance Stephenson has signed with the Pacers for the rest of the season, league source told @FieldhouseFiles.
He previously was on two 10-day hardship contracts, then two standard 10-days.
This is his third stint with the franchise.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) February 3, 2022
This comes on the heels of Stephenson concluding multiple 10-day contracts which have seen him averaging 7.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds a game.
The Pacers aren’t doing too well this season but Stephenson is one of the bright spots – and one of the most fun success stories of this season.
That raises the important question: is Stephenson back in the NBA for good?
COVID Comes Calling
Stephenson was officially out of playing professional basketball with the NBA when this season began.
However, like so many other guys who used to play in the league, the coronavirus pandemic changed all of that.
At the beginning of January, the Pacers came to Stephenson and signed him to a 10-day contract due to multiple absences because of the virus.
It was a sight seen throughout the league: teams were calling upon semi-retired players who hadn’t been in the NBA for multiple seasons because they needed to fill their rosters in order to compete.
Stephenson was more than willing to play.
He started off uneven as he worked the rust off but he really came alive on January 5, when the star put up 30 points.
Lance Stephenson tonight:
4/8 3PM pic.twitter.com/HRcDrP12aI
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 6, 2022
That game was followed by appearances where he totaled 16 points and 14 points.
Since his return, Stephenson has remained inconsistent – he’s had nights where he has scored nearly 20 points and then nights where he hasn’t even cracked five.
Of course, he hasn’t been playing a lot of minutes and has only received an average of 18 per game.
He hasn’t been the best player on the floor by any means but he has certainly contributed a lot and has also reminded fans of his fun personality and showy style.
Where To Next?
The latest deal with the Pacers has Stephenson playing with Indiana through the rest of the season but he will be a free agent this summer.
That means that if another team wants him, we may see Stephenson on the move.
What are the chances of that happening?
Honestly, not that high.
Like many of the retired players who have returned to the league this year, Stephenson has struggled to continually make a huge difference for the team.
Along with his often lackluster stats, Stephenson is also 31 years old.
That’s not old but it’s also not incredibly young for an NBA player.
Will another team take a chance on him?
It’s possible, especially if he steps it up in the final months of the season and if his asking price is low.
But it’s more likely that Stephenson will stick around in Indiana for the rest of the season and beyond if he returns next year.
He’s had his issues but Stephenson is one of the breakout success stories among the returning NBA players who have had their careers revived by the coronavirus pandemic.
He might not be journeying all over the league any time soon but don’t be surprised if you see him sticking around with the Pacers for a lot longer than initially expected.