Lance Stephenson didn’t take long to become the NBA’s first hardship waiver success story. The last day of his 10-day contract with the Indiana Pacers is on Monday, but he will not only be a part of the roster but the rotation for quite a while.
According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Pacers announced their intentions to keep Lance through the end of the season.
The Pacers are expected to keep Lance Stephenson for the rest of the season, league sources say, thanks to his very strong play in this third Indiana stint that has won admiration from Pacers coach Rick Carlisle.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2022
Stephenson has one day left on his initial Indiana hardship deal.
Anyone that saw Stephenson’s last two games saw this decision from the Pacers’ front office coming. They waived Kelan Martin to open a roster spot for the 6-5 guard the team drafted 40th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.
First, he stole the show when Kyrie Irving’s made his return to the Brooklyn Nets roster by scoring an NBA-record 20 points off the bench in the first quarter on his way to a 30 point performance last Wednesday.
20 points.— NBA (@NBA) January 6, 2022
4-5 from deep.
In one quarter.
Lance. Stephenson. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/kaNyZvlniZ
Then he followed it up by dishing a career-high 14 assists to go with 16 points, six rebounds, and four steals in the Pacers’ 125-113 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday. His playmaking sparked his teammate Domontas Sabonis to a 42 point and six rebound night on 18-22 shooting.
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?@StephensonLance 🤝 @Dsabonis11 #NBAAllStar | #GoldBlooded pic.twitter.com/ak54pyLdvQ— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 9, 2022
After the Nets game, Stephenson expressed his feelings about being back in an Indiana uniform via the Indy Star.
“As soon as I put that jersey on, I feel like I just get my powers,” Stephenson said after scoring 30 points, just three points shy of his career-high, against the Nets on Wednesday. “I don’t know what it is. Every time I put that jersey on, I just feel comfortable, and when you playing in front of people that’s happy for you to play and egging you on, it just makes the game more easier.”
This is Stephenson’s third stint with the franchise. On Monday, the Pacers (15-25) return to action against the Celtics (19-21).