Thus far, the 2014 NBA off-season has greatly affected the look of the Eastern Conference. While news of LeBron James’ return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is most captivating, Lance Stephenson, a player that knows the future Hall of Famer all too well, has also uprooted.
Today, the Brooklyn-bred guard announced that he parted ways with the Indiana Pacers to join the Charlotte Hornets. According to ESPN, Stephenson signed a three year contract worth $27 million.
“Indy, I had a great 4 years,” Stephenson wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Thank you Larry Bird, the fans, my coaches and teammates for the incredible experience. I will never forget any of you! I now have to look to the next phase of my career and the wonderful opportunity to continue to grow as a player and as a person in Charlotte! I’m excited to play for this franchise and the fans!! #buzzcity”
Stephenson turned down a five-year $44 million deal from the Pacers, which many people, including team owner Herb Simon, thought was enough to get him to stay put.
During the 2013-2014 season, the 23-year-old averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds, a career high in each statistical category. Though Stephenson’s numbers are in tact and assumed to be on the rise, it’s his attitude both on and off the court that’s teams worried about.
It appears that Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets (it’s said that he played a major role in Stephenson’s decision) saw the young player as a fruitful addition to the squad, despite the baggage. He’ll join fellow young stars like Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Cody Zeller, as well as veteran player Al Jefferson.