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Your Morning Dump… Where I’m becoming a big fan of Lance Stephenson

Chuck - Red's Army May 29, 2014 Around the NBA, The Morning Dump 31 Comments

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

From players to the coach, mid-level staffers to management, the message to Lance Stephenson the last two days was simple: Shut up and play. No more public shots at LeBron James, no more lighting a blowtorch under the best player in the world. Just basketball, they told Stephenson, who vowed his sideshow days were behind him.

“We just gotta play,” Stephenson said on Monday. “Stop worrying about all the other stuff.”

This is Stephenson though; no player this side of Tony Allen is as wildly unpredictable. So there he was on Wednesday, ratcheting up the antics instead of toning them down, declaring a mental war on James when he promised everyone peace. When James passed, Stephenson gave him a shove. When he shot, Stephenson stuck his legs underneath him. During a dead ball Stephenson — in what became a Vine that nearly broke Twitter — blew in LeBron’s ear, a soft breeze that pushed an incredulous look onto James’s face. For the first time this series Stephenson crawled up into the four-time MVP’s head and stayed there, forcing James into uncharacteristic early foul trouble in Indiana’s 93-90 series saving win.

“It’s Lance being Lance,” Paul George said. “I hope his breath wasn’t too bad for LeBron.”

Sports Illustrated

Lance Stephenson might not be the most mature player, but the kid has balls. Big ones.

Why should Celtics fans care about Lance? Because he’s an UFA this July. While there are no reports indicating the Celtics have interest in the 6-5 Stephenson, I think they should. He has the talent and make-up to become a franchise player.

Why would the up-and-coming Pacers let a valuable contributor walk?

Putting it in Indianapolis terms, Stephenson is like a race car. The performance can be incredible and awe-inspiring. But he requires constant maintenance by the entire operation, and losing focus for one second can lead to various levels of disaster. This, naturally, can and has grown tiresome.

In the past three years, all of the Pacers’ core players — Hill, Hibbert, West, George — have been signed to long-term deals. Now it is Stephenson’s turn. Bird has always supported him. He stuck his neck out to draft him despite Stephenson’s checkered past and red flags. 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.

Stephenson is 23 years old. It’s possible we are witnessing him at his most immature. Then again, some guys never grow up (see Ramirez, Manny).

What is Stephenson’s price range? Anywhere from $7 – $10 million. Avery Bradley is in the same range.

I should mention that Stephenson was arrested for violently assaulting his girlfriend in 2010. The case was dismissed.

So what do you think? Am I crazy for wanting Danny Ainge to kick the tires on Stephenson?

The rest of the links:

Slam – The Hub (Rajon Rondo) | Men’s Fitness – Q&A with Brad Stevens | ESPN Boston – Team workouts final step in evaluation | CSNNE – Celtics team up with Cowens for hoop camps |

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  • swissflix

    Stephenson displays why i prefer Smart to Gordon in the draft. Confidence close to cockiness. Arrogance, fire, whatever. Not skills or hops first. Remember, we had a guy like that for many years, 34 was the number.

    • Curt Hays

      And Jeff Green is the opposite

    • KGino

      don’t forget that you’re also describing #9

      • Curt Hays

        Amen! I’m glad I saw this!

  • bill_nair

    Like Swiss said, I’d prefer to just draft Smart. I like Lance but I don’t want anyone from that pacers team. I don’t think anyone on that team is mature enough for a rebuild.

    • Curt Hays

      Luis Scola?

    • adam

      Andrew Bynum?

  • Dustin Chapman

    I absolutely love Stephenson. I bet if he was involved in these same “antics” against the Celtics or another team, however, this post would be about how immature Stephenson is and how he has to grow up etc. But since it is against LeBron, it is praised. Would bet my left testicle on that.

    • Dustin Chapman

      Why am I so mad this morning? I immediately retract my decision to bet my testicle

    • chuckmckenney

      A fair point. I’m not ignoring his immaturity. I think I’ve criticized Lance for a forced attempt at a triple double. But I like the potential…

  • RedsLoveChild

    Lacks maturity…unpredictable…averages a career whopping 10 PPG…current employer in no rush to resign him, etc.

    Yeah, we need him about as much as we need leukemia!

    • KGino

      sounds like you’re describing Larry Sanders as well… whom you love!

      • RedsLoveChild

        Love Larry!!!

        And it`s essential that Love {Kevin} & Larry {Sanders} are wearing Green next year, making the Celts the best rebounding machine in the NBA!

        Stephenson? Guys like him are about as common and plentiful as sand at the beach!

      • Curt Hays

        I’m with @jerrysondler:disqus on Larry Sanders. He’s the best paint defender in the league.

        • KGino

          I’d take Larry Sanders in a heartbeat. Weed should be legal. Just pointing out RLC’s inconsistency on a “troubled” player

          • Curt Hays

            Understood. I’ll let it slide! I’d rather he smokes weed than be an alcoholic or addicted to pain pills.

            Is Larry actually unpredictable though? I am under the impression that you know what you’re going to get from him. I suppose smoking when he knows it’s banned is an issue if you aren’t sure about whether or not he’ll get caught again.

          • KGino

            I was thinking his play is a little unpredictable, as well as his conditioning. I had him on my fantasy team this year, even when he played he didn’t do much. Not even close to what he did the year before. Heck John Henson had a better year, let’s get him… he’d be much cheaper.

          • KGino

            also broke his thumb or something in a bar fight if i remember correctly… definitely unpredictable off the court as well

          • Curt Hays

            You’re right about fantasy stats, but he’s like Perk…you can’t always see it in the stats. Perk has turned into sort of a negative lately, but Sanders still a positive. Henson will be tough to get because of his contract…similar to Sully. I’m not necessarily advocating for Sanders, but I think he’d be a good addition…for 11 million? Idk. He’s probably worth it more than Kris Humphries is. Dat paint D.

          • RedsLoveChild

            I was very clear…so, stop your effin` pretending there`s an “inconsistency” on the only issue that really matters.

            Sanders is a very talented big….Stephenson is a 6`5″ nothing!

          • KGino

            You only still like him because you endorsed him so hard the year before. He’s pretty unpredictable, and with a waaaay worse contract. Read up.

            http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1920763-larry-sanders-is-milwaukee-bucks-biggest-problem-in-nightmare-season — nuff said.

  • Rich Jensen

    There’s a reason why Bird is going to let Stephenson walk, and that’s the same reason why Ainge needs to stay far, far away from him. The guy is the exact opposite of professional.

    This isn’t hockey. You can’t have a Marchand-like guy like Stephenson be a contributing member of a championship team, and that’s not even getting into Stephenson’s apparently poisonous effect on the locker room.

  • Justin Quinn

    if you want domestic abusers who focus more on psy ops than jump shots.. i’m glad you’re not a gm – your team would end up more of a circus attraction than hoisting a banner.

  • KGino

    Meh, I wouldn’t make him a priority, but he is a decent all around player (rebounds & assists well for his position). I wouldn’t be opposed to him in green though, even given the history. I have supreme confidence that Brad Stevens can mindf&%$ him and control him. Same reason I’d take Boogie. BS is like Professor X, he’ll get in your head and then hone your talent.

  • Brad P

    This guy is a complete idiot and I don’t want him in a Celtics uniform…..ever. If it weren’t for Hibbert, Stephenson would be the player I hated most on the Pacers

  • wil

    Stories say Lance Stephenson was the one Hibbert was targetting with the “Selfish dues” comment and the main reason why the struggled in the 2nd half of the season.

    Lance was trying to get back at coaches for snubbing him in the allstar. trying to do to much and got obsessed with his stats.

  • Jaedre

    you guys are a bunch of haters lol Lance Stephenson should be on Danny Ainge’s radar. The dude can play! Draft Smart, Bring on Lance and we got our backcourt.

  • Rob Fujiwara

    You’re a clown. What’s the difference between stephenson and larry sanders? Don’t hate cuz you’re a square bro. I’d take em both.

  • Rich Jensen
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