Lance Stephenson, Pacers Reportedly Agree to 2nd 10-Day Hardship Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2022

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 10:  Lance Stephenson #6 of the Indiana Pacers smiles during a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers are signing Lance Stephenson to another 10-day hardship contract, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.

The veteran swingman has fully capitalized on his return to Indiana. He's averaging 14.2 points, 5.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds in five appearances with the Pacers.

The 31-year-old had last played in the NBA in 2018-19. With the league having numerous players ruled out through its health and safety protocols, a door back into the Association opened.

In the Pacers' 129-121 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 5, Stephenson dropped 30 points. He followed up with a double-double (16 points, 14 assists) as Indiana beat the Utah Jazz 125-113 a few days later.

On Monday night, the Brooklyn native helped the Pacers push the Boston Celtics to overtime and remained on the court in the game's crucial moments. He had an opportunity to tie the contest with 12.2 seconds remaining in the extra period.

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

What a sequence from Lance Stephenson - sentence I didn’t expect to be typing in 2022. He buries a late shot clock 3 to put Indiana up by one, then grabs a rebound and rifles a full court pass to Oshae Brissett for an and-one dunk. Indiana leads by two now with a minute to go.

This is shaping up to be a lost season for the Pacers. They're 13th in the Western Conference at 15-26, five games out of the final play-in berth.

Indiana's roster could look a lot different in another month too, since the front office and ownership may pull the trigger on a rebuild by the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

In the short term, Stephenson has shown why he's worth keeping around. In the event his long-term future lies outside of a franchise building for the future, he has made quite an impression for prospective suitors.