After spending a single, less-than-impressive season at Cincinnati, the Indiana Pacers took a risk on Lance Stephenson, using the 40th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft on the raw shooting guard from New York. President Larry Bird put his faith in Stephenson and it's paid off, but Bird can only hope Stephenson is grateful enough to consider re-signing with Indiana after the 2013-14 season.
Stephenson, for what it's worth, doesn't see his future as an issue. That future apparently involves re-signing with the Pacers, the guard told Pacers.com's Mark Montieth.
"It's a long season, I'm not thinking nothing about contracts. I'm going to stay with the Pacers, so I'm not even thinking about the contract."
Going to stay? Does that mean he would turn down a larger offer to re-sign?
"I'm staying with the Pacers," he said.
Stephenson will be paid $1 million for the 2013-14 season, and through three regular season games, he's averaging 19 points, four assists and 6.7 rebounds. If he continues on a similar path, he'll likely garner a lot more attention -- and more money.
At that point, Bird and the Pacers will likely need to reach a compromise with Stephenson. The books are stacked and already including Roy Hibbert's contract that will pay him $14.9 million next season. Additionally, forward David West will be making $12 million annually, and Paul George's max contract extension kicks in for the 2014-15 season.
Stephenson's work ethic has showed early on in his three-point shooting. He's hit 9-of-14 attempts through three wins, and it's proof that he's taken to Bird's suggestions, including Stephenson's decision to work with a shooting coach over the summer.
That relationship means Stephenson could be quite willing to re-sign with the team that took a risk on him. But how much money would he be leaving on the table if he has a strong year?