|Hornets sign Lance Stephenson|
|Guard upgrades toughness and shooting|
|Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:58 pm|
Lance Stephenson has found a new home.
The controversial free-agent shooting guard has agreed to a $27 million, three-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets, according to a person familiar with the contract. The deal includes a team option for the third season.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been made public. The person says Stephenson is expected to be introduced at a press conference Friday.
Stephenson wrote on Twitter: "Indy, I had a great 4 years. 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 met with Hornets owner Michael Jordan and other members of the organization Tuesday night in Las Vegas before agreeing to the deal.
Stephenson is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He led the league with five triple-doubles.
Charlotte turned its attention to Stephenson after Utah matched its offer to restricted free agent Gordon Hayward. The Pacers had offered Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract but he chose to sign for fewer years.
Stephenson certainly comes with his share of baggage.
The outspoken and emotional Stephenson had 14 technical fouls last season.
During the Eastern Conference playoffs he challenged LeBron James and the Miami Heat with his words and later whispered in James' ear during Game 5. Miami won the series.
Still, the Hornets couldn't ignore Stephenson's shooting, upgrading a team that finished in the bottom third of the league in 3-pointers made and 3-point field goal percentage.
Gerald Henderson was last year's starting shooting guard. But with the addition of Stephenson and first-round draft pick P.J. Hairston it's unclear if the team will try to move Henderson.
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