If he’s chasing the biggest payday, there’s a good chance there will be at least one team other than the Pacers that is willing to offer more money and take a shot on such a great, yet mercurial talent. Far too much was made out of Stephenson’s antics and how it will cost him substantial money in free agency. All it takes is one team and one offer.
Will the Pacers be that team? Here’s what Larry Bird told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com) recently about Stephenson’s future:
I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be," said Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations. "I always want him back. You just don't let talent like that walk away if you can help it.
If Stephenson wants to remain with a highly competitive team, his options may be more limited. Despite falling to Miami again, Indiana has been established as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. There’s a good chance Stephenson would be decreasing his chances of winning a title by going anywhere else.
We’ll see if that’s enough to keep him with the Pacers or not, but if Stephenson wants to leave in free agency, he’ll likely have some decent options available. Let’s take a look at the best potential free-agent landing spots for Lance Stephenson this offseason.