Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird and head coach Frank Vogel spoke with the media on Monday during their season wrap-up interviews. Bird and Vogel spoke on a multitude of topics, but one of the common themes was the future of Pacers free agent Lance Stephenson.
Vogel said they would love to see Stephenson back, and even went as
far as to call Stephenson a possible all star.
"I think he has the ability to be a multi-year all-star at some point," Vogel said. "More important than that he has the ability to be a major contributor on a championship team."
Bird also said that he would like to see Stephenson back, calling him one of the hardest working players he's ever seen.
"I'll always want him back," said Bird. "You just don't let talent like that walk away if you can help it."
Vogel also answered questions about the Pacers post all-star break struggles. Vogel blamed the late-season struggles on "sequence of little things," but said most of those issues have been resolved. "I think were pretty strongly together," said Vogel. "So I would say, 'Yes, most of them are pretty resolved.'"
Despite falling short of their goals this season, Vogel was
optimistic about his team and what it can accomplish in the future.
"We're still very young and I think that experience matters," Vogel said. "I think going into another year with the core that we have, and the reserves that we have I think we have more room for growth."
Bird added that while he is willing to listen to offers he isn't
looking to make any major changes.
"I think it's important when you got a young team to try and keep them together," Bird said. "We got a good thing going here."
Bird was also asked about reports claiming Vogel was to be fired, but Bird dismissed the reports as rumors saying Vogel's job was "never in jeopardy."
The Pacers first offseason task will be the NBA Draft which is on June 26. The Pacers currently don't have a pick in the first round; the team is slated to the 27th pick in the second round.