2014 Free Agency, Latest News / Jul 16, 2014 / 11:45 am

Report: Lance Stephenson Agrees To Three-Year Deal With Charlotte

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson (Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports)

Lance Stephenson has agreed to terms on a three-year, $27 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. The Pacers made an offer for five years, but Stephenson decided it was in his best interest to take a shorter-term deal in order to maximize his opportunity for one more huge contract in his prime, especially considering the league’s upcoming television deal and a possible change in the collective bargaining agreement after the 2016 season.

News of the signing broke early this morning:

Rich Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer reports the contract includes a team option for the third year with fewer years than the Indiana Pacers’ five-year offer:

Under terms of the agreement, Stephenson will make $9 million in 2014-15 and $9 million in 2015-16. Stephenson will get a slight raise in 2016-17 if the Hornets pick up the team option.

The Pacers had offered Stephenson $44 million over five seasons, and reportedly did not come off that number. Stephenson thought he was worth considerably more.

Tuesday, following the summer Board of Governors meeting, Pacers owner Herb Simon reiterated to the Indianapolis Star that his franchise believes its offer to Stephenson is more than fair.

“We made him a wonderful offer and they didn’t think it was enough, so it’s a simple situation,” Simon told the Star.

Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star reports Stephenson’s decision was in part because he didn’t want to commit to a long-term contract which paid him — what he considered — less than his worth:

Also, the Pacers were reportedly not given a chance to match the final offer:

Stephenson is just 23 years old, and despite being a huge distraction at times last season, he was a significant contributor on the court, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 35.3 minutes a night (all career highs). He also led the league with five triple-doubles during the regular season, and netted a career high in player efficiency rating (14.7), true shooting percentage (.564), and win shares per 48 minutes (.130) with 7.4 win shares on the season.

Lance was an intriguing case in free agency, given both his young age and potential. But his oftentimes combustible personality was a risk for most teams — especially when he was looking for eight figures a year. In this sense, the Hornets minimized the downside of things turning bad with Stephenson in what is essentially a two-year deal. They also stand to reap the rewards of adding an up-and-coming wing player who should solidify them as a playoff team in the East.

For the Pacers, all chemistry questions aside, this is a huge blow. They don’t have anyone on the team who can fill in as the starting shooting guard, save for C.J. Miles. Without making a roster addition before next season starts, the Pacers will most definitely miss Stephenson’s production. Complicating matters further, Indiana is just $3 million below the luxury tax line, so any signing will likely be for a player with limited ability to impact their production.

In the end, Stephenson chose to get a fresh start in Charlotte, which might end up being the ideal solution for everyone involved. With this move, the flattening of the Eastern Conference power structure continues. It’s going to be a very fun playoff race next year.

What do you think?

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  • Onaje

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Lance Stephenson was the heart for a Pacers team that lacked it. It seems beyond petty and a bit callous that the Pacers couldn’t figure out why Lance would want a shorter deal and just offer 2 years or 3 knowing the business around the game dictates that young players in demand will desire shorter deals to hopefully cash in as they ascend. Pacers have a major hole to fill now…Paul George declaring to be more physical won’t replace Lance’s “dogged” competitive spirit…CJ Miles is a coaster not a charger competitively speaking…they will rely more on George Hill and he has shown he isn’t the answer. I guess they have a shot at Eric Bledsoe still, but I haven’t heard anything about them even looking that way…

  • 2cents

    Agreed that Lance’s nasty-streak helped the Pacers win games, but I still feel his attitude also tore the team apart. I know Turner doesn’t have the heart of Lance, but isn’t a suitable replacement at SG?

  • 2cents

    Why does Lance remind me of Latrell Spreewell? Is it the skills? Is it the attitude? Or is it the similarities to the “have a family to feed” line in regards to his contract?

  • Onaje

    I felt it was the management and bring in of pieces that don’t fit that screwed with their chemistry…You let a beloved Granger go, because he can’t cut it…cool, but you don’t try to force in a buy like Bynum or even gamble on a guy like Evan Turner while your main guys are more than filling their roles…In Hindsight Roy looks like a stiff and Lance left lol

  • Onaje

    I’d say Evan would be a good replacement as far as projected skillset is concerned as he is a decent ball handler and can can defend his position decently…

    What he lacks is consistency and the ability to play well with others…I don’t believe the dust up between him and Lance was more on Lance…Evan has an ego and on top of that he gets incredibly frustrated when he isn’t doing well.

    In Philly we saw glimpses of his potential, but he never shown himself to be a leader or even a good playmaker making the game easier for others…he often went on these “solo missions” to prove his own ego correct. Maybe Larry Bird as he did with Lance can have an influence on him…doesn’t hurt he has time in with the guys already.

  • 2cents

    Damn, Hibbert just makes me angry. There was all this hype about his off-season regime, but I’ve never seen a player fall off at the end of the season like him. He shouldn’t NEED to have plays called for him. With that size/mass, he should be swallowing up offensive rebounds and raming them back.

    I’d say now it’s in the Pacers best interests to perhaps package Turner + Hibbert to some sucker team and try to bring back All-Star level SG.

  • Onaje

    Nah…Latrell was more of consistently dominant in his matchups, but Lance is the much better ball handler and playmaker…Spree was a borderline HOF talent at one point…The top 2 guards of his hey day were Jordan…….Spree and Mitch Richmond.

  • Onaje

    I think they missed the boat…Can’t think of a team that wants either right now with the kind of talent coming in this year…at that price too. Roy got a max deal…who wants to pay him 15 that has it to spend?

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