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Pacers owner OKs trade for Lance Stephenson if Larry Bird wants to do it

Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers

Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers

NBAE/Getty Images

The Hornets are off to a horrendous 6-18 start, and it’s all Lance Stephenson’s fault.

Or something like that.

Their issue run deeper than the non-star Stephenson, but he’s an easy scapegoat. So, everyone is throwing mud (some of it right at Stephenson) to see what sticks.

The Hornets reportedly want to trade him. Other teams reportedly want to trade for him.

One of those teams: the Pacers, who employed Stephenson for his first four seasons.

Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star:

Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon said he would personally be fine with bringing back Lance Stephenson in a trade, however the judgment would be up to the front office.

“I’d be OK with it but it’s not up to me. Larry (Bird) has to decide if he fits,” Simon told The Star

Several deciding factors would determine the Pacers’ interest in Stephenson, said Simon, and a huge consideration would be chemistry.

“First of all, we don’t know if they’re really trading him, at least I don’t know,” Simon said about the Hornets. “I know they made some calls and we would have to (figure out) how he fits back into the team. Those are all basketball decisions and Larry and Kevin (Pritchard) are the best to answer that.

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Yesterday was the first day the Hornets could have traded Stephenson, and it already seems he’s worn out his welcome. in Charlotte It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Pacers – from Larry Bird to Frank Vogel to Roy Hibbert – look at the mess there and determine they’ve had enough of Stephenson. There was certainly some foreshadowing when they made measured attempts to keep him in free agency this summer.

But Indiana, specifically Bird, provided Stephenson a safety net he doesn’t have with the Hornets. Stephenson returning to the Pacers could work out, and it’s interesting Simon is allowing for the possibility.

After the Malice at The Palace, the Pacers deconstructed a very good team. This is an owner conscious of how his team presents itself to the public, and he’s indicating there’s at least a chance Stephenson can fit within his desired image.

I don’t think people understand how crucial ownership is to a team’s decision-making, though the situation in Sacramento is sure opening eyes to the other side of it. A Stephenson-back-to-Indiana deal doesn’t get off the ground without Simon’s approval.

But if he’s open to it…