Pacers in need of fresh faces

At 10-19, three games back from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers find themselves in a difficult situation.

Injuries have plagued a team that was pushing for the NBA Finals in 2014.

One option that’s been put on the table is to re-sign the hard-headed Lance Stephenson.

Since joining Charlotte this past offseason, Stephenson has clashed with teammates.

In an interview, Pacers owner Herb Simon told Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star that he was “OK” with a Stephenson return but needed to consult with executives Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard on

the matter.

According to reports, Simon consulted with his board of executives and the general feeling was that

Stephenson’s return to the Hoosier state isn’t going

to happen.

It’s rather confusing why Bird couldn’t be on board with the addition of Stephenson. He was “disappointed” the team didn’t re-sign the guard in the offseason. I suspect there is more going on in the Hornets locker room than meets the eye.

Stephenson made a huge career decision turning down the Pacers’ offer of $8.8 million for Charlotte’s $9 million deal.

Only $200 thousand dollars? That’s pocket change in the NBA.

Maybe Gordon Gekko was wrong in “Wall Street” when he said “greed is good.”

The Pacers are undeniably struggling. Losing All-Star Paul George to an ACL tear took a huge toll on the team. Injuries to players including George Hill and David West haven’t helped matters.

But there’s still hope for the Pacers.

Hill returned Tuesday night against New Orleans and made an immediate impact, leading Indiana to its 10th win with a team-high 15 points coming off the bench. He went 3 for 4 from the foul line and 2 for 3 beyond the arc.

Right now, the Pacers are 29th in scoring per game, averaging just 93.7 points per contest.

However, the Pacers sit third in rebounding per game and second in points allowed per game. The defense hasn’t dwindled.

Hill averaged 10.3 points last season, but 14.2 points during the 2012-13 campaign. If his offensive resources are needed, the team could turn to him.

Re-signing Stephenson would appear to be a desperation move to get the offense flowing for a team that has a solid foundation.

Why would you disrupt that? Short term it could prove beneficial, but long term, who knows what could happen with an unstable player?

The Pacers have two months until the trade deadline.

If they want to add offense, there are plenty of other options available.

Perhaps the Pacers should look at Indianapolis native Eric Bledsoe. He has competed for time with the addition of Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic playing solid minutes at the point in Phoenix.

Bledsoe is averaging 15.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds — nothing to scoff at.

The Suns are 16-14 and are looking to make a playoff push in the Western Conference.

Big decisions that could affect the fate of the 2014-15 Pacers season could take place soon.

Author photo
Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.