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

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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