Between the trash talking, the blowing in LeBron’s ear, the love tap on his face, the palm blow to Norris Cole’s dome and other “buffoonery” to try to get under the Heat’s proverbial skin, Lance Stephenson may have sabotaged his free agent market value. ESPN reports:
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.
But here’s the thing: Stephenson has turned off potential free-agent suitors with his unreliability — ever since being snubbed for the Eastern Conference All-Star team — as much or more than he’s annoyed fellow Pacers. His free-agent market, according to the latest rumbles on the personnel grapevine, is already drying up. And it’s not even June 1 yet.
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.