HoopsHype Lance Stephenson rumors

April 24, 2014 Updates

One league executive said the problems that have arisen—the public ones, remember, not the behind-the-scenes ones—with Stephenson will cut deep into his value on the free-agent market, and that a deal worth $7 million-$8 million per year is more likely to be Stephenson’s range now. “You hear things, for sure,” one general manager told Sporting News this week. “Stephenson is a guy who has talent, but if you have a young team and you’re building up a culture, you have to consider that before you pursue a guy who might affect your locker room negatively. You have to do your due diligence. But that sort of thing is going to affect the market for him, for sure. If a guy has issues, you better know about them and you think twice about going after him.” Sporting News

April 23, 2014 Updates

Yahoo Sports first reported that there was "a practice-floor fistfight" involving Turner and Stephenson last Friday. A person familiar with the situation described the story to The Star as "pretty accurate." However on Wednesday, Turner and Stephenson, as well as other Pacers, downplayed the incident as a commonplace tangling up that happens during practices. "We're competitive players," Stephenson said. "We got (into) a little scuffle but it was just practice related. No blows, just playing hard and getting ready for the playoffs. I mean, I've got no problem with him." USA Today Sports

Turner also denied that the fracas escalated to fists. "Honestly, the person who wrote the article asked me if the fight happened, I told him 'No, it wasn't (a fight),' and he just went on and wrote that there were punches thrown and all this and it wasn't. It was just a tangle up and that was it," Turner told The Indianapolis Star while on his way to catch the team plane to Atlanta. "That was it and I don't think there's anything really to speak on in regards to being that big a deal. But the whole thing of everybody reading that punches got thrown and all this nonsense occurred, that never happened. Not one punch (was) thrown. Lance and I are pretty big guys. I think you'd see a sign of a punch thrown, ya know?" USA Today Sports

Stephenson, 23, makes no apologies for his a knack for getting under players' skin with his brashness. "I'm definitely a trash-talker coming from New York, we talk trash all the time," Stephenson said. "That was built in me when I was young. "I just try to get our confidence built up. Sometimes I go, 'Hey let's go,' I get into other guys and it's just ... being competitive and getting each other ready for the playoffs and the physical part of the game, so I just try to be that guy to do that sometimes." USA Today Sports

"It grew us closer. Lance and Evan are close now. It's just, throughout the year, there have been plenty of times where I've wanted to take guys out. We're brothers. I'm sure anyone who has siblings has had moments where other siblings got on their nerves and caused them to tip over. Part of the game, part of the system, nothing serious." Indianapolis Star

Sources said that Stephenson and guard George Hill had to be separated on the bench during a 26-point home loss to San Antonio on March 31. And when Roy Hibbert made his well-chronicled complaints to NBA.com in late March about "some selfish dudes in here," sources say he was essentially referring to Stephenson, who ranks as one of the league's most improved players this season as he approaches free agency in July and is well-known to be a Bird favorite. ESPN.com

On the eve of this Eastern Conference series, the wobbling No. 1 seed punctuated its final playoff preparations in a most self-destructive way: Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson. Yahoo! Sports

Turner hadn't been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson's relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won't be the last. These scrapes aren't uncommon in the NBA, but this confrontation had been weeks in the making and that reflected in the ferocity of the encounter, sources told Yahoo Sports. "This stuff happens, but the timing wasn't ideal," one witness told Yahoo Sports. Yahoo! Sports

These two guards have struggled together since the deadline deal brought Turner from Philadelphia to Indiana. Suddenly, Turner is learning to play without the ball in his hands, and Stephenson is relearning the balance of passing and shooting. Truth be told, there were probably Pacers willing to let Stephenson and Turner beat the dribble out of each other. Still, Luis Scola and David West finally grabbed an enraged Turner and separated Stephenson. Yahoo! Sports

Turner had one shot and just 11 minutes in Game 2, but the Pacers won and that lifted a burden off everyone in the locker room. Turner insisted "nothing happened" with Stephenson in practice on Friday, but he's in a tough spot to cop to the truth. He doesn't want to be a disruption, but rather a solution. Turner's trying to fit into these Pacers, trying to prove he belongs on the court for a championship contender. Yahoo! Sports

April 21, 2014 Updates

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