Lance Stephenson’s on the court antics may have cost the Indiana Pacers more than just a shot at the NBA Finals. It may also have cost the free agent-to-be a major payday when he hits the open market this offseason.
ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein is reporting that interest in Lance has dropped dramatically following Stephenson’s hijinks during the Eastern Conference Finals:
“It’s pretty instructive to hear that the Dallas Mavericks, as ESPN.com has been reporting since Dallas’ first-round playoff exit to San Antonio, do not intend to pursue Stephenson come July. The Mavs could certainly use Stephenson’s athleticism, versatility and playmaking and showed everyone last summer — with the signing of Monta Ellis — that they’re not afraid to take a perceived gamble. It’s pretty telling when the risk-taking Mavs, after the combination of Dirk Nowitzki and Rick Carlisle brought the best out of Ellis, have shown no interest in finding out if they can do the same with Lance.”
Earlier this week, Stephenson was called out by Pacers team president Larry Bird for blowing in Lebron James’ ear in an attempt to get into the Miami Heat star’s head. As reported by The Inquisitr, Bird responded with a “Yes I am” to a text message from USA Today when asked if he was bothered by ear-gate.
Stephenson also racked up a few more red flags during the Heat-Pacers series. He told the media Lebron showed a “sign of weakness” by getting involved in trash talking with Lance while also getting fined for two separate flops during the Eastern Conference Finals with the Heat. All of these antics equate to a missed opportunity to cash in when Lance hits free agency at the end of the season.
As the Bleacher Report noted in a recent article, “the memories of Stephenson talking trash, generally irritating and, famously, blowing in LeBron James’ ear all contribute to the overall picture of a player who might do more harm than good.”
Even the chance of the Pacers wanting to re-up with Stephenson should his free agency not pan out with another team seems slim at this point. As Marc Stein pointed out in his blog:
“When the week began, ‘Larry [Bird] will stick by Lance tooth and nail’ was still the way it was being put to us. By week’s end, after too many ill-conceived attempts to mess with LeBron’s psyche to list, it was impossible to resist the suggestion that even Bird has to be fed up with Stephenson.”
And while Lance Stephenson took a proactive approach by sort of apologizing to Lebron James via Instagram it seems he’s got a long way to go to convince teams he is worthy of a big contract.
[Image courtesy Brothersonsports.com ]