The Charlotte Hornets made a big splash in free agency last year when they inked big man Al Jefferson to a three-year, $41 million deal. Jefferson helped the Hornets return to the postseason for the first time since 2010 and the Hornets entered the 2014 offseason hoping to make a similar move in order to rise up in a wide open Eastern Conference.
After the Utah Jazz matched the four-year, $63 million offer sheet the Hornets signed forward Gordon Hayward to, the Hornets signed point guard Brian Roberts and forward Marvin Williams. Then, they landed their big fish, signing talented but troubled Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson to a three-year, $27.4 million deal.
According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan told Stephenson to learn when to calm down.
Stephenson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, brings scoring, defense, playmaking and an edge. The Hornets like his edginess, and believe it can help them win games. But only to a point.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan attended the meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday night that resulted in Stephenson signing a 3-year, $27.4 million contract. Jordan spoke very directly with Stephenson before signing off on this contract.
“He told me what he likes about me, he told me what I need to calm down on,” Stephenson told the Observer after the news conference. “He told me how I can contribute to the team. And he told me he believed in my talent. He likes my competitive edge.”
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.