INDIANAPOLIS – Could Lance Stephenson return to Indiana?
First reported by Grantland.com, the Charlotte Hornets appear to have soured on the fifth-year pro less than half a season into his three-year $27 million contract, and the franchise is “aggressively” pursuing a deal.
Stephenson spent his first four seasons in the NBA with the Pacers, culminating in a 2013-14 season that saw him lead the league with five triple-doubles. Because of that success as well as the Pacers current struggles (1-8 in their last 9 games, 8-17 overall), Indiana is one potential landing spot for Stephenson.
Still, Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel is staying mum on the issue.
“I have no comment on that or players on other teams,” said Vogel after Tuesday’s practice. “I really love the guys we have on our team. I love the togetherness we’re building. All my focus is on getting this group to succeed.”
The idea of bringing Stephenson back didn’t exactly receive a ringing endorsement from Pacers’ guard George Hill either.
“I’m not saying I like it or dislike it,” said Hill, “but right now we have a lot of great guys. I think it would be unfair to them.”
With or without Hill’s support, Yahoo! Sports reports the Pacers and Hornets have already discussed the possibility of a trade involving Stephenson.
Vogel would not comment specifically about Stephenson, but said part of his job is to discuss the makeup of the team, “additions and subtractions”, with the front office regularly.
“The front office thinks about it every day,” Vogel said. “I think about it once a month or if they bring it to my attention. Like I said, my attention is always on the group of guys we have here and getting them to play at the highest level.”