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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Articles tagged: Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson was surprised, upset about Pacers declining his option

Though he has now joined LeBron James and the Merry Pranksters in LA, Lance Stephenson is admitting that his Indiana Pacers exit was less than ideal.

In an interview with Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports that ran on Thursday, the Lakers swingman opened up about Indiana’s decision this summer to decline his team option for the 2018-19 NBA season.

“Ah, man. I never … I was even surprised when they declined my option,” said Stephenson. “Just to be a free agent again this year was like, ‘Man, again…” I was definitely upset, but you move on from stuff like that, and you learn and you get stronger from it.”

Stephenson did however leave the door open for a potential return to the Pacers eventually, saying of the possibility, “You never know, man.”

The 27-year-old had spent six seasons with the Pacers across two stints, taking part in many playoff battles with them and becoming a fan favorite. However, the team chose to decline his fairly cheap $4.3 million option for next season in a decision that drew sharp criticism from some.

Stephenson then went on to sign a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers. If you believe what Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said recently though, the team may have just wanted to preserve flexibility by declining Stephenson’s option and intended to bring him back.

Phone call from LeBron James sealed Stephenson signing

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Instead of simply tolerating Lance Stephenson on the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James actually appears to have been actively recruiting him.

Speaking with the media on Friday, Indiana Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said he offered Stephenson a better deal than the Lakers did. Pritchard said a phone call from James to Stephenson sealed it, per local reporter Mark Montieth.

The Pacers turned down Stephenson’s $4.3 million team option for the 2018-19 season before free agency began, though it sounds like they were just trying to maximize their flexibility and planned to bring him back. He wound up signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers instead.

A report earlier this week seemed to suggest that James was merely OK with Stephenson’s arrival, but now we know he definitely wanted his ex-adversary.

Report: LeBron James OK’d Stephenson signing beforehand

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Despite all of the bitter and bizarre battles that they have fought over the years, LeBron James seems to have no qualms about Lance Stephenson joining him on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tania Ganguli of the LA Times reported on Monday that Stephenson’s agent called James’ agent to make sure that The King was OK with Stephenson joining the Lakers.

The 27-year-old Stephenson agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers on Sunday, just hours after it was announced that James would be signing a four-year deal with the team.

The two players had some heated clashes over the years competing out East, and Stephenson earned himself a reputation as perhaps the NBA’s premier LeBron pest. It doesn’t sound like they will have any trouble co-existing in LA though, despite the funny jokes that the Internet had about the odd pairing.

Twitter reacts to pest Lance Stephenson joining LeBron on Lakers

Lance Stephenson AT&T Center

The NBA offseason is heating up, and the LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers move was certainly the main course. But the news that the Lakers are also signing Lance Stephenson is definitely the dessert.

James has more history with Stephenson than few other players in the league. Here’s a look:

– In 2012, Lance mocked LeBron for choking on a free throw
– In 2014, he trash talked LeBron during the playoffs
– In 2014, Lance notoriously blew in LeBron’s ear
– In Jan. 2018, they got after each other during a game
– In April 2018, Lance smacked LeBron in the head
– In April 2018, LeBron shoved Lance during the playoffs

Naturally, news of him joining LeBron on the Lakers led to some great reactions.

Report: Lakers sign notorious LeBron pest Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

LeBron James will no longer have to worry about being defended by Lance Stephenson, in games at least.

Stephenson has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Yahoo’s Shams Charania.

Stephenson became a free agent when the Indiana Pacers declined his option — a move that was met with criticism. “Born Ready” was receiving interest from many teams, but his new home will be with the Lakers.

Given how much of a pest he’s been while defending James over the past several years, it’s not a huge surprise that James (ostensibly) approved of the signing.

This may just be the beginning of players wanting to come play with LeBron in LA.

Paul George takes shot at Pacers over Stephenson decision

Paul George

Paul George isn’t too pleased with how his former team just did one of his former teammates.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers decided to decline Lance Stephenson’s fairly cheap $4.3 million team option for next season, making him a free agent.

The decision got a pretty strong reaction out of George, who took to Instagram just minutes later to shade the Pacers. The five time All-Star forward posted a screenshot of the news and wrote, “Wow and I was the bad guy huh?! In this business you do what’s right for YOU! #PacerLegend”

George and Stephenson entered the league together, having both been drafted by the Pacers in 2010. They were teammates in Indiana for a total of five seasons, which included multiple deep playoff runs with each other.

While often times volatile and unpredictable, the 27-year-old Stephenson had become a Pacers fan favorite over the years with his impassioned play and his dedication to the team. It looks like that ultimately got him nowhere though, and George, who had his own disagreements with Indiana, can empathize.

Watch: LeBron James shoves Lance Stephenson

LeBron James Lance Stephenson

LeBron James looks like he has had enough of Lance Stephenson.

Late in the third quarter of Game 6 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, James shoved Stephenson, who hit the floor. Stephenson appeared to flop after the contact, but there was enough for James to be called for a foul.

The saga between Stephenson and James has been going on for years, with Stephenson becoming a huge thorn in James’ side. There was the infamous ear-blowing incident between them. The two went at it during a game in January. Then James was called for a tech for shoving Stephenson in Game 4. Lance may be in LeBron’s head.

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