Stephenson fails to reach an agreement with the Pacers…
The Charlotte Hornets have signed Lance Stephenson from the Indiana Pacers for the next three seasons in a deal believed to be worth $27m.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan, general manager Rich Cho, head coach Steve Clifford and associate head coach Patrick Ewing met with Stephenson and his representative on Tuesday in Las Vegas and were able to secure a deal.
The announcement ends the controversy and uneasiness surrounding the 23-year-old’s split from the Pacers, after he rejected their offer of a five-year, $44m contract on July 1 which he felt undervalued him after recording the most triple-doubles in the NBA last season.
Indiana were unwilling to offer a shorter deal or increase the money on the table and therefore it paved the way for the talented yet volatile guard to leave the franchise.
“Lance is forever grateful for all the love he’s received from Pacers fans. He is especially grateful to his teammates, [Pacers coach] Frank Vogel, [owner] Herb Simon, the Pacers management and most of all, Larry Bird,” Stephenson’s agent, Alberto Ebanks, said in a statement.
“While we tried our best to come to the best possible terms for both sides, there was not sufficient flexibility in the terms of the contract, particularly the length of the contract.”
Stephenson attracted significant criticism from both within and outside of the organisation given his actions on the court last season. While he was goaded into a second technical foul in March in a win over the Miami Heat and again publicly challenged LeBron James during the playoffs, he was involved in a scuffle in practice with team-mate Evan Turner.
The Pacers star was also criticised by Larry Bird after he blew in the ear of James during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, and yet Indiana were still keen on signing him to a long-term deal.
However, having now accepted a new challenge with the Hornets, the organisation will hope that Stephenson preserves his energy in displaying his basketball talents as opposed to annoying his opponents.