Lance Stephenson to become free agent after Pacers decline contract option

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 04: Lance Stephenson #6 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates during the 108-90 win over the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Pacers announced they will decline Lance Stephenson’s team option of $4.3 million for next season.

The decision will make Stephenson a free agent.

The news was first reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports. The team later confirmed the report.

“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,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard.

Stephenson averaged 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Pacers in 2017-18.

Stephenson reacted to the news on Instagram, saying he was ready for his next challenge.

“Since a young’n I always believed in myself. Ready for all challenges, always held my head up and ready for all things GOD put me through. MAN I LOVE THIS GAME 🏀 BORNREADY,” he said.

Former Pacer Paul George commented on the news on Instagram, saying Stephenson has to do what’s right for him.