Pacers lose Stephenson to Hornets offer, reports say

July 16, 2014

Pacers free-agent guard Lance Stephenson has come to terms with the Charlotte Hornets with a three-year, $27 million deal, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday morning.

The deal was signed early Wednesday morning after Hornets owner Michael Jordan, general manager Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford met with Stephenson and his representatives Tuesday night in Las Vegas, ESPN reported. The deal since has been confirmed by the Charlotte Observer.

In accepting the overture, the mercurial 23-year-old has spurned a five-year, $44 million offer from the Pacers in early July, which was pitched as a final offer from the team.

"Lance is forever grateful for all the love he's received from Pacers fans. He is especially grateful to his teammates, [Pacers coach] Frank Vogel, [owner] Herb Simon, the Pacers management and most of all, Larry Bird," Stephenson's agent, Alberto Ebanks, said in a statement. "While we tried our best to come to the best possible terms for both sides, there was not sufficient flexibility in the terms of the contract, particularly the length of the contract.

"Reports throughout the negotiation process with Indiana have often strayed from the truth but suffice it to say that it was less about the money. Lance will miss the city, the team and the mentor who helped transform him into the dynamic player he has become. He looks forward to making a strong contribution and beginning a new chapter with the Charlotte Hornets."

The 6-foot-5 wingman averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the 2013-14 regular season. He also led the league in triple-doubles, with five.

Considered one of the NBA’s most electric players, Stephenson sometimes indulges in on-court antics that make him the most confounding. Most recently, he was captured by TV cameras blowing in LeBron James’ ear during Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 28.

Stephenson was selected 40th in the 2010 NBA draft from University of Cincinnati, where he was the 2010 Big East Conference Rookie of the Year.

This story will be updated.


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