Sources: Pacers agree to deal with Lance Stephenson after waiving Rodney Stuckey

The Indiana Pacers agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract with Lance Stephenson after waiving injured guard Rodney Stuckey, league sources told The Vertical.

The Pacers hold an option on the third year of the deal, sources said.

Stuckey, 30, suffered a left patellar strain in Sunday’s win against Philadelphia but is expected to fully recover within a few weeks.

Lance Stephenson last played with the Pacers in 2014. (AP)
Lance Stephenson last played with the Pacers in 2014. (AP)

The Pacers drafted Stephenson, 26, out of Cincinnati with the 40th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and he signed a free-agent deal with Charlotte in 2014. Stephenson’s move to Charlotte lasted one season before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers then traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline in 2016.

He played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves this season, but was hampered by groin and ankle injuries.

Stephenson has averaged 8.7 points, three assists and 4.2 rebounds in seven seasons.

The Pacers (37-37) are in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, and the addition of Stephenson adds depth.

The Pacers had until April 10 to release Stuckey and avoid paying the $7 million for his 2017-18 player option. C.J. Miles (2017-18) and Monta Ellis (2018-19) share similar clauses in their contracts. The Pacers’ front office expressed contrition about releasing Stuckey at this point in the season, sources said, and believes both sides benefited from his nearly three seasons in Indiana.

Stuckey planned to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, sources said, but the Pacers needed to make the decision to open a roster spot to help their depleted bench. The team announced Tuesday that guard Glenn Robinson III (calf) will be re-evaluated late next week, and center Al Jefferson (ankle) will miss at least two weeks.

Stuckey cannot compete in the postseason because he was waived after the league’s March 1 playoff eligibility waiver deadline.

A 10-year NBA veteran, Stuckey resurrected his career after joining the Pacers in 2014 on a veteran minimum deal. He had a strong first season with the Pacers, earning a three-year, $21 million deal in 2015.

Stuckey has averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds in his career with Detroit and Indiana. He is a proven combo guard who should garner interest in free agency.

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