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Nov 27, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) passes the ball while being defended by Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson (25) during the fourth quarter at Time Warner Cable Arena. Pacers won 99-74. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Free Agency 2014: Charlotte turning eyes to Lance Stephenson

The Charlotte Hornets were close to landing their shooting guard of the future, but due to restricted free agency, the Utah Jazz matched the max contract offered to Gordon Hayward. Now Michael Jordan’s beloved franchise is turning their eyes to unrestricted free agent Lance Stephenson reports Sean Deveny of Sporting News:

The Charlotte Hornets took a gamble by pursuing Gordon Hayward, making a max offer for the restricted free-agent forward, and it didn’t pay off, now that the Utah Jazz informed the Hornets they will match.

That leaves the Hornets with about $20 million in cap space, and a roster it’s seeking to upgrade aggressively, which a league source said will lead to the next big front in free agency — Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson.

Like Hayward would’ve done, Stephenson immediately improves a Hornets team is in prime position to compete in the playoffs for the next three to four years. Last season, Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Upon arrival, Stephenson would provide an upgrade at the shooting guard position, both offensively and defensively.

Of course, there’s a catch to Lance as majority knows. If you just factor in play, he’d be a lock to earn a max contract offer, especially considering Chandler Parsons and Gordon hayward were offered the same. But his antics on and off the court, whether it’s taunting opponents, disrupting the locker room, or pestering the best player in the world has create a decline in his free agent market as well as his potential dollars earned.

But on a team led by Al Jefferson and owned by Michael Jordan, the Hornets may be able to hone Lance in. If they think he’s worth the risk, there’s no reason for them to not go all in on the shooting guard.

Stephenson is also drawing free agent interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson NBA NBA Free Agency 2014

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