Following a 117-92 Game 6 loss in Miami, Indiana star Paul George was asked whether he would like the Pacers to re-sign Lance Stephenson, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. His reply was unenthusiastic. (h/t Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated)
"I mean, I don’t know," George said, following Indiana’s season-ending loss to Miami in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. "That’s for [Pacers president] Larry [Bird], [GM] Kevin [Pritchard], for them to decide."
He continued with a little more optimism for his teammate.
"It would be great, we came into this league together," Indiana’s two-time All-Star small forward said. "It would be great for us to continue our journey together. He’s played a huge year this whole season and in this postseason. He’s definitely put pressure on us to make decisions going forward with Lance."
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Stephenson provided an edge for the Pacers this season as a pesky defender, secondary ball-handler and playmaker. He also made headlines as an annoying sidekick; his on-court antics are well-documented.
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Stephenson enjoyed the best year of his career, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the regular season, but his theatrics often overshadowed his play. He was fined twice for flopping in the Eastern Conference Finals and was criticized for blowing in LeBron James' ear.
Maybe that's why George paused before deciding whether or not he wants Stephenson back next year. Stephenson is a fine young player, but he might be getting under his own teammate's skin.