Reports early Wednesday morning surfaced that Lance Stephenson has agreed to sign with the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte met with Stephenson in Las Vegas late Tuesday and Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer has reported Lance agreed to a 3 year, $27.5 million dollar contract. The third year of the contract is a team option.
Stephenson was originally offered a 5 year, $44 million dollar contract by the Indiana Pacers after averaging 13.8 ppg and over 4 apg last season in Indy. Lance reportedly felt he was worth more than that, but the market for the shooting guard has not been great after some on-court antics in the playoffs, most famously blowing into LeBron James’ ear in an attempt get into the King’s head.
But Lance was a borderline All-Star last season and the Hornets’ have gambled that they just signed a 23-year old up-and-coming star at a bargain price. This is a low risk, high reward move by Michael Jordan and Rich Cho and fulfills MJs claim that he’d sign another superstar this offseason to team with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.
Stephenson is a good passer though sometimes a little too flashy, going for the Sportcenter highlight over the easy play. He shoots almost 36% from 3 and as they say with everyone that comes to Charlotte, that could improve as Al Jefferson will constantly command double teams in the post.
Charlotte got Stephenson at slightly more per year than Indiana’s offer with less years guaranteed, and with the way his free agency has dragged out he likely will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as well as playing for his next big contract. It seems the Hornets’ are poised to make a run at a top-4 seed in the Eastern conference next season.