If you follow the NBA or more specifically, the Indiana Pacers, you most likely have heard that the Indiana Pacers decline to pick up the team option to have Lance Stephenson. This would have only cost the Pacers $4.3 million. Just to be clear, for solely what Lance gives the Pacers in terms of production of the court, is more than justifiable to give him that contract. Keep reading as I break down his production compared to other contracts in the NBA and how their production compares. (This production does not even begin to attempt to monetize the energy and fan base that he brings into each and every game)
Below is how Lance stacks up with other Guards in the NBA.
Please read that chart again and really pay attention to how cheap we are getting that production. This league is a get paid league, and Lance can most likely go get signed somewhere for more than that $4.3 million. His numbers are in the same category as guys like Batum getting $22.4 million who may score more, in a lot more time played. And even guys like Tony Snell and Terrance Ross who are making $9.8 million and $10.5 million respectively while having worse numbers than Lance across the board. I understand that most of these are bad contracts and you could get the same production in some guys for less or similar to $4.3 million, but for the time being, getting this production for that cost WHILE that production is coming from a player that the city loves and specifically comes to watch night in and night out to see what goofy nonsense, yet brilliance, he might do, is worth keeping around.
As you can probably sense, I hate this call because I too am a big fan of Lance in a Pacers uniform and I can visibly see the energy that he brings when he is locked in. Now that his happened, the Pacers have around $30 million to play with in Free Agency, and unless they can sign a big name or multiple upgrades on the bench, I am going to disagree with this decision. The Pacers need one more guard and another forward/tall wing. Guys like Jabari Parker, Will Barton, and Rudy Gay are players that Indiana could look at. I don’t even hate landing a potential offensive threat like Michael Beasley to pair with Holiday and Sabonis in the second unit (could be my dumbest take ever knowing Beasley’s poor history). I know that this isn’t a guarantee that he won’t be in a Pacers uniform next season, but with him being a free agent, I think the Pacers would have to get him for more than $4.3 million if they strike out on all other free agent possibilities.
Salary information is from spotrac.com and the stats come from NBA.com