One-on-one with Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson, Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James

Lance Stephenson appreciated his time in Indiana.

LAS VEGAS — It was business as usual for Lance Stephenson this summer, working out daily in Indianapolis and playing in pick-up games against fellow pros several times a week at the Incrediplex in Lawrence. He sat courtside as multiple Indiana Fever games. He still has a home in Zionsville.

He did not expect for much to change, having just completed a full season in his second stint back with the Pacers. And he was under contract for one more year.

However, the third year of his contract, signed in 2017, was a team option. President Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers opted to decline that $4.3 million option in order to have maximum cap flexibility as they waited on veteran Thad Young to decide on his $13.7 million play option. If he opted out, they could have had $30 million to spend in a market with little competition.

The Pacers even released a statement an hour after word got out confirming the news with comment from Pritchard. ” This was a very difficult decision, but as free agency begins on July 1, we want to have flexibility so that we can prepare for all of our available options,” he said.

Three days later, Young exercised his option to remain in Indy.

On July 1, the start of free agency, the Pacers quickly reached agreement on a three-year deal with Doug McDermott, a shooter who needed a stable situation and for a team to believe in him. McDermott and Stephenson (and Kyle O’Quinn) have the same agent, so they were fully aware of what was going on.

As I reported on July 1, the Pacers were in constant communication with Lance and later made him an offer to remain in Indy. With the money being equivalent, both one-year deals, Stephenson decided the opportunity to play in Los Angeles, for the Lakers and with LeBron, was too intriguing to pass up.

On July 10th, Stephenson was in Los Angeles to sign with the Lakers, his fifth team in seven seasons. The  very next day, he came to Las Vegas and was on the court at the Mendenhall Center — home of USA Basketball’s mini-camp.

Continue reading this post »»»


Damjan Rudež discusses his one-year deal with UCAM Murcia, finding a good fit overseas

Damjan Rudez, UCAM Murcia, Spanish ACB

Damjan Rudež had a great weekend in Croatia, celebrating his home country’s appearance in the FIFA World Cup Final. Despite its 4-2 loss to France, it was a moment, an experience that Croatian’s like Rudež will never forget. Then, Damo finalized his basketball plans for the next season. Appearing on the Pacers Podcast, Rudež explained his…

Trevon Bluiett signs two-way deal with New Orleans Pelicans

Trevon Bluiett, New Orleans Pelicans

Undrafted rookie forward Trevon Bluiett signed his first NBA contract on Tuesday. The Indy native, a graduate of Park Tudor School, landed a two-way deal after a strong performance during the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month. Bluiett, who was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine, scored 50 points combined in his first…

Ep. 85: Damjan Rudež on Croatia reaching the World Cup Final

Damjan Rudez, Croatia, Former Pacers

What was the feeling in Croatia when they played in the FIFA World Cup Final over the weekend? I had to find out. On this episode of the Pacers Podcast, I called up former Pacer forward Damjan Rudež, a native of Zagreb, Croatia. While he’s not a huge soccer fan, the monthlong run by Croatia, with a…

LeBron heads west — now what for the Pacers?

Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, 2018 NBA Playoffs

LAS VEGAS — The best thing to happen to the Pacers during NBA free agency was something they could not control. LeBron James choosing to play in the Western Conference, for the Los Angeles Lakers, makes the East a wide-open race. For the Pacers, that means a LeBron-led team cannot eliminate them from postseason play,…