With the Indiana Pacers eliminated from the NBA playoffs after a Game 6 defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat on Friday night, guard Lance Stephenson will now turn his attention to free agency this summer with hopes of landing a lucrative contract.
Unfortunately for Stephenson, it appears he may have already turned off a number of teams that would have shown interest in the 23-year-old swingman.
According to a report by Marc Stein of ESPN.com, sources have indicated that Stephenson’s free-agent market “is drying up” after his antics against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
From blowing in LeBron James’ ear to smacking the former NBA Most Valuable Player in the face, Stephenson has proven that he’s a loose cannon with a questionable maturity level.
In 19 games this postseason, Stephenson averaged 13.5 points on 45.5 percent shooting from the field, including 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 37.1 minutes of action.
Stein also notes that the Dallas Mavericks, a team with a history of taking certain gambles on players, are not willing to pursue him this offseason.
Although Stephenson is young and certainly worthy of a sizeable deal based solely on his numbers, the Pacers organization is having doubts over whether he’s even worth it, per CBSSports.com:
Despite Stephenson’s tantalizing talents, sources said there are many in the organization who don’t think it’s a good decision to give him a rich, long-term contract, given the way he has acted during the season.
Numbers aside, Stephenson may have done some serious damage to his reputation with his actions over the past few weeks. The talent is there, but his selfish attitude and decision-making on the floor are huge red flags.