On Tuesday afternoon, the Pacers announced the decision not to renew the $4.36 million team option on shooting guard Lance Stephenson’s contract. One person who wasn’t impressed with the move? Former Pacers All-Star Paul George.
OFFICIAL: The Indiana #Pacers announced they will not pick up the team option on guard Lance Stephenson’s contract for the 2018-19 season.https://t.co/3UFH2Hgkzd
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) June 25, 2018
George, who suited up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18 and is a free agent, took to Instagram to express shocked at the Pacers’ decision. He wrote “Wow and I was the bad guy huh?! In this business you do what’s right for YOU!” with the hashtag #PacersLegend.
George’s frustrations are understandable.
Stephenson was one of the Pacers glue guys, averaging 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 82 games last season. In the playoffs, he contributed offensively while doing his best to agitate LeBron.
For $4.3 million, the Pacers let go of a fan favorite who was productive and incredibly likeable. It’s not a completely baffling decision (Indiana wants to save some $$) but Stephenson’s deal seemed like a good one more than a bad one.
With Stephenson hitting free agency, let’s see if he can sustain success outside of Indiana – something he’s had trouble with. Perhaps, the right thing to do is team up with George again. That’d be rad.