As another day in the NBA's free agency circus passes with no real, legitimate buzz on takers for Indiana Pacers' forward Lance Stephenson, one starts to wonder what, exactly, is the hold up? After all, most of the free agents in the same talent tier, for example Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons, have both received max-offer contracts. Yet, Stephenson, who sources say may go for even less than those two if signed, remains in the wind, with only little speculation as to where he could end up.
But a revealing Instagram post on Stephenson's account today, Tuesday, July 15, might have just answered the question as to why Lance is getting no free agency love.
The post is just a simple "selfie" of Stephenson, but the message attached to it seems to be that of someone sending a message to a skeptical NBA that is he ready to take the next step in becoming a more mature basketball player.
"We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past," Stephenson wrote, quoting author Steve Maraboli. "But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”
It could very well be that this is just Lance reflecting on his past, but given the timing of the post, and the speculation that Lance's on-court antics have been a deterrent for prospective NBA teams, it seems more likely that this post reveals some insight into why teams haven't sought out Stephenson.
If this is the case, though, it seems hard to imagine why Stephenson won't just come back to the Pacers, and take the five-year $44 million the team offered him? Most analysts have him tagged as a "$10 million" man, but then again, value is only as good as long as someone is willing to pay for it.
The Pacers, on the other hand, are willing to offer him every dime they really have left, and the players and President Larry Bird both have expressed that they really want him in Indianapolis.
On the surface, Lance with Indiana seems like a win-win scenario.
But if the post is what it most certainly appears to be, a message to the NBA that Stephenson is sorry for "blowing" his chances with his behavior, and if he is willing to put himself out there like that for a little bit more money than the Pacers can offer, then the real question becomes: Does Lance really want Indiana, as much as Indiana wants him?
It would appear not.