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Rival NBA GM on Lance Stephenson: ‘We couldn’t guard him’

Lance StephensonThe Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets in free agency, and you’re not alone if you believe his departure will hurt Indiana.

A rival GM described to TNT’s David Aldridge what losing Stephenson means.

Stephenson got a 3-year, $27 million deal from the Hornets. The Pacers supposedly offered Stephenson a 5-year, $44 million deal.

Did Stephenson want the shorter-term deal because he believes in himself and thinks he can get more in a few years? It’s a gamble, but it may pay off.

Indiana also is taking a big risk. I think they’re going to drop off without him. He was a big part of their success, and now they won’t have him. I don’t think they should have let him go. They should have been thankful he wanted a shorter rather than longer deal; you can’t rely on him for five years, but two or three seasons is reasonable.

Pacers’ free agency pitch to Lance Stephenson included personal movie

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Lance Stephenson made headlines for all the wrong reasons during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The Indiana Pacers guard irritated opponents and teammates by doing stuff like blowing in LeBron James’ ear. Even Pacers president Larry Bird publicly criticized Stephenson, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t have him back.

Stephenson is officially a free agent. According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers made their pitch to the former Cincinnati star as soon as the free agency period officially began at midnight on Tuesday. They even included a personalized movie for him.

>>At 12:01 a.m. this morning, Lance Stephenson and company were with the Indiana Pacers’ team brass at a private party. The event included a viewing of a movie in Stephenson’s honor.

>>The movie was a secret to Stephenson.

>>Parts of the movie featured a few words from Larry Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations, and coach Frank Vogel.

>>Sources say things got “emotional” for Stephenson’s loved ones at certain parts, especially when the ‘Born Ready’ life story began reflecting on his journey to climb out of Coney Island.

Buckner said the Pacers always try to do something special for their free agents, but the movie was a first. We’re going to guess the film didn’t include any clips of Stephenson blowing in ears.

While you may be surprised that the Pacers are going to such lengths to keep Stephenson after the way he acted in the postseason, there aren’t many better options. He is just 23 years old and averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. He’s a big part of what the Pacers do, so they’re probably hoping he re-signs and matures a bit during the offseason.

Larry Bird: Pacers want Lance Stephenson back

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Given the way Lance Stephenson acted during the playoffs and over the second half of the season, many have assumed his time with the Indiana Pacers has come to a close. The 23-year-old will be a free agent this summer, and Pacers president Larry Bird seems like he has had enough of Stephenson’s antics. Still, Bird claims he isn’t done with Stephenson.

“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird told reporters on Monday. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

While he claims he is hoping to keep Stephenson, Bird did once again admit that he was disappointed in some of the former Cincinnati star’s childish antics during the postseason.

“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 added. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel also said that he is “certainly hoping that he’s back” when asked about Stephenson. Bird recently announced that Vogel’s job is safe and he will be back with the team next season.

If Stephenson could knock off the bulls–t, he could be an extremely valuable member of any team. It’s one thing to get under your opponent’s skin and knock them off their game. It’s another to make yourself look like a fool while providing the game’s best player with added motivation.

Lance Stephenson congratulates LeBron James, Heat

Lance-Stephenson-LeBron-James

Lance Stephenson provided the Miami Heat with all the motivation they needed to win the Eastern Conference Finals. We’re not saying the Indiana Pacers would have won if not for Stephenson’s antics, but he had to have made the Heat want it even more. After the series ended on Friday night, Stephenson congratulated Miami on punching their NBA Finals ticket.

“I have much respect for LeBron and the Heat,” Stephenson wrote on Instagram. “This was a great series they deserve it all love to Heat. Want to say that I’m so proud of my teammates we work so hard all year to get to point, Everything is a learning experience and getting better every year love u guys Pacer nation and thanks to all of our Pacer fans love y’all too.”

Udonis Haslem didn’t look like he had any love for Stephenson during Game 6, but Lance and LeBron embraced after the game. It’s easy for the Heat to look past Stephenson’s antics now that they won the series. Will the Pacers do the same when he becomes a free agent this summer? I highly doubt it.

Udonis Haslem to Lance Stephenson: I’m going to f— you up (Video)

Udonis Haslem Lance StephensonLance Stephenson was busy being an irritant during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers as he had been all series, and Udonis Haslem decided he’d had enough.

During the second quarter when Stephenson was messing with LeBron James and gave Norris Cole a clothesline, Haslem issued a serious threat to Lance. U-Don could be seen saying to Lance, “I’m going to f— you up.”

You know he said it too, because you could tell how crazy the fans in the front row reacted.

You never want to mess with U-Don, Ghostface Killah or the Method Man. But mostly you don’t want to mess with U-Don. He will end you, chief.

Video via @WorldofIsaac

Lance Stephenson nails Norris Cole; Shane Battier retaliates (Video)

GIF: Lance Stephenson whacks Norris Cole in the face going fo... on Twitpic

Lance Stephenson Norris ColeLance Stephenson’s pest activities were out in full force in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night in Miami. Lance Romance was messing with LeBron James from the start of the game, and LeBron played back. But things got extra heated in the second quarter when Stephenson nailed Norris Cole in the face, as seen in the video above.

A minute later, Shane Battier retaliated:

At least Stephenson was rightfully called for a flagrant foul on the play.

Here were some other Lance vs. LeBron moments from the game:

[Read more...]

Larry Bird to Lance Stephenson: No more blowing in ears

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird was one of the most notorious trash talkers in the NBA during his Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics. Bird rarely stopped running his mouth on the court, but he almost always backed it up. And he definitely didn’t blow in anyone’s ear.

On Thursday, Bird was asked if he was bothered by Lance Stephenson blowing on LeBron James during Game 5. He was very blunt about it.

“Yes I am,” he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt in a text message.

Bird’s displeasure with Stephenson’s childish antics became even more clear on Friday, when reporters started asking the 23-year-old about the infamous incident.

Reynolds also noted that Stephenson was asked by a reporter how he thought blowing in LeBron’s ear helped the Pacers. Before he could answer, a Pacers PR person told Stephenson, “Lance, go shoot.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel also said on Thursday that the team does not condone what Stephenson did.

“Blowing in his face probably crosses the line,” Vogel explained. “That’s not really who we are. We want to be a competitive team, but we don’t want to cross the line.”

Stephenson isn’t throwing cheap shots or trying to injure anyone. He’s trying to get under the Heat’s skin any way he can, and he’s embarrassing himself in the process. The fact that Bird and Vogel both refused to stand behind the former Cincinnati star in the middle of a crucial playoff series tells you everything you need to know.