Paul George takes jab at the Pacers for making Lance Stephenson a free agent

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The Indiana Pacers have declined their team option on Lance Stephenson's contract and will make him a free agent this summer.

This will bring an end to the veteran's second stint with the franchise.

The Pacers chose not to pick up his $4.3 million contract for next season and the news is likely to be met with some disappointment by their fans as he was always a favourite in Indy.

One person who did provide an immediate reaction to the news was former Indiana star, Paul George.


The five-time All-Star expressed his frustration at the treatment towards his ex-teammate and took a jab at his former team.

The small forward posted a picture of the news on his Instagram page and added the caption: "Wow and I was the bad guy huh?! In this business you do what’s right for YOU!" #PacerLegend

George was obviously referring to his decision to leave the Pacers last summer and the backlash he received after it.

With a year left on his contract, the 27-year-old informed the team that he wasn't going to sign an extension.

General manager Kevin Pritchard described that decision as a "gut punch" and fans in Indianapolis immediately turned on their star player.

But with his Instagram post, George is seeking to prove that these decisions work both ways and fans should also vent anger at the front office when they choose not to keep players.

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Eying free agents

In an official statement, Pritchard said they chose to release Stephenson to create financial flexibility in free agency.

"This was a very difficult decision, but as free agency begins on July 1, we want to have flexibility so that we can prepare for all of our available options," he said.

After spending the first four years of his career with the Pacers, Stephenson decided to leave in free agency in 2014 when he signed for the Charlotte Hornets.

But his spell in North Carolina didn't go well and he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers just a year later.

Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Hornets

He then bounced around the league after that as he had spells with the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.

As it looked like his future in the league was in real doubt after being released by the T-Wolves in 2016, he surprisingly signed a three-year deal with Indiana soon after.

The swingman looked rejuvenated in a Pacers uniform and made a decent impact off the bench this past season.

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He averaged 9.2 points, 2.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game under Nate McMillan.

But his second spell is now over and it's difficult to see where he'll go from here.

At 27, Lance should be in the prime years of his career now but it'll be interesting to see if he commands any interest in free agency.

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