Sources: Lance Stephenson, Pacers agree on three-year contract

SAN ANTONIO -- The Indiana Pacers are bringing back a familiar face.

Free-agent swingman Lance Stephenson has reached an agreement with the team on a three-year, $12 million deal, league sources informed ESPN.

The first two years of the deal are guaranteed, and the third year is a team option, sources said.

Stephenson, 26, spent the first four years of his career as a member of the Pacers; they were his most productive years before he exited for Charlotte via free agency in the summer of 2014.

Pacers president Larry Bird, in an interview with the team's website in January 2016, said the team had built around Stephenson before he left. But Bird said he wasn't surprised the shooting guard hadn't found the same success after his departure.

Bird also repeated three times that Stephenson was "a little different."

"Lance is a good kid," Bird told Pacers.com. "But he's a little different."

Stephenson's career has taken a downward spiral from his Indiana days. He has had stints with the LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Stephenson has played in 12 games this season. The seventh-year veteran was waived by New Orleans in November following a groin injury, and he completed the second of two 10-day contracts at Minnesota earlier this month.

One of his most famous moments came in 2014, when Stephenson was caught on film blowing into the ear of Cavs All-Star LeBron James while the two prepared for a free throw to be shot.

Stephenson has career averages of 8.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

The Pacers (37-37) are currently occupying the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They haven't put together back-to-back wins since early February.

The Pacers waived guard Rodney Stuckey on Wednesday, clearing the way for Stephenson to return.

The move comes a day after the team announced Stuckey would miss four to six weeks with a strained left patellar tendon.

Stuckey has been plagued by injuries all season. He appeared in only 39 games, a little more than half of the Pacers' total heading into Wednesday's matchup at Memphis.

With the Pacers still fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the team decided it couldn't afford to be short-handed over the final two weeks of the season.

The 6-foot-5 Stuckey averaged 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season. In three seasons with Indiana, he averaged 10.1 points and 2.6 assists.

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird called Stuckey a good influence on the team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.