After showing great improvement and getting into the playoffs last season, largely thanks to the signing of big man Al Jefferson, the Charlotte Hornet hoped to be major players in free agency.
They signed Gordon Hayward to an offer sheet worth $63 million over four years, but the Utah Jazz decided to match. They have since signed Marvin Williams to a two-year, $14 million deal and Brant Roberts to a two-year $5.5 million deal, but they would still like to make a big addition. Many believe that addition could be Indiana Pacers’ free agent guard Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson’s value is reportedly dwindling so Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors believes the Hornets can scoop Stephenson up with a solid offer.
Well, the Hornets probably had a strong idea they weren’t going to get Hayward from the moment they signed him, since Utah was sending such strong signals that they would match. I think there’s a chance they overpay to go after Stephenson, who’s probably their next big target. Overpaying seems to be their strategy, frankly, and while it can pay off with a guy like Jefferson, it can be a major gamble. Still, if they make, say, a two-year, $22MM play for Stephenson, I think they’d get him, and they wouldn’t be hurt too significantly if he doesn’t pan out, since they could cut ties in fairly short order.
Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season while shooting 49.1% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 71.1% from the charity stripe in the regular season. In the postseason, he put up 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He shot 45.5% from the field, 35.8% from downtown and 71.4% from the free throw line. In his four-year career, he has averaged 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 46.7% from the field, 32.5% from three and 71.1% from the free throw line.