Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird told reporters Monday that he hopes Lance Stephenson will be back with the team as a free agent, despite his disappointment in the guard's hijinks during the Eastern Conference Finals. From the AP:

"I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be," said Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations. "I always want him back. You just don't let talent like that walk away if you can help it."

"I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot and after the game, everyone was talking about all the nonsense," Bird said. "That's not what we're about, and it's not professional."

"Clearly, he's a free agent, and I'm certainly hoping that he's back," Vogel said, later acknowledging he played the role of team psychologist more this year than any previous year.

Indiana is expected to start the offseason $8 million to $12 million under next season's projected luxury tax threshold and already has its four other starters under contract. Bird has made it clear the Pacers will not pay the luxury tax.