Given the way Lance Stephenson acted during the playoffs and over the second half of the season, many have assumed his time with the Indiana Pacers has come to a close. The 23-year-old will be a free agent this summer, and Pacers president Larry Bird seems like he has had enough of Stephenson’s antics. Still, Bird claims he isn’t done with Stephenson.
“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird told reporters on Monday. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”
While he claims he is hoping to keep Stephenson, Bird did once again admit that he was disappointed in some of the former Cincinnati star’s childish antics during the postseason.
“I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot and after the game, everyone was talking about all the nonsense,” Bird added. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel also said that he is “certainly hoping that he’s back” when asked about Stephenson. Bird recently announced that Vogel’s job is safe and he will be back with the team next season.
If Stephenson could knock off the crazy antics, he could be an extremely valuable member of any team. It’s one thing to get under your opponent’s skin and knock them off their game. It’s another to make yourself look like a fool while providing the game’s best player with added motivation.