Lance Stephenson ‘heartbroken’ to see Paul George leave Pacers

Lance Stephenson was “hyped” to be back home with the Pacers, signing a three-year deal to return to Indy at the end of March. He fully expected to play alongside four-time All-Star Paul George for the rest of the season, and for many more years to come.

George, however, felt that staying with the Pacers was not in his best interest and so he had his agent inform team president Kevin Pritchard of his intentions to go elsewhere at the end of his contract, which expired on July 1, 2018.

That allowed the Pacers to get something in return for PG, though they were crippled by the word getting out that he plans to play for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Ultimately, the Pacers pulled the trigger on a deal with Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis just two hours before the start of free agency.

[Lance reclaims No. 1]

Speaking to Jr. Pacers Hoops Tour campers at the Irsay Family YMCA at CityWay on Monday, Stephenson was asked by a kid about losing his teammate, the guy he came into the league with back in 2010.

“I’m very upset,” he said (as captured on Periscope by @PacersCares). “We came in together. I felt like coming back I got a chance to play with him again. It’s tough. That’s like my brother. I’m real heartbroken, but we’re going to fight through it. We got a lot of new guys and I think we’re going to be all right.

“I’m about to go to L.A. in two weeks to go see him and go work out with him. There’s no hard feelings between us. We’re still friends.”

Stephenson said at the end of the season that he was going to push hard for George to sign a contract extension to remain a Pacer for the foreseeable future.

[Paul George says goodbye, thanks Indiana]

[Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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