At the beginning of free agency, Lance Stephenson turned down a five-year deal worth $44 million from the Pacers. Since then, Stephenson has been rumored to have been drawing interest from multiple teams, the Celtics included.
However, today the 6-foot-5 combo guard came to terms with the Charlotte Hornets, saying goodbye to Indiana in the process.
The Charlotte Hornets will sign Lance Stephenson to a 3-year contract, the last season a team option, the Observer has learned.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 16, 2014
Indy, I had a great 4 years. Thank you Larry Bird, the fans, my coaches and teammates for the incredible ... http://t.co/9DcRknGQs8The amount of Stephenson's contract will be $27 million over three years, with a team-option on the third season. Obviously, by accepting this deal over the Pacers' offer, Stephenson is betting on himself.
— Lance Stephenson (@StephensonLance) July 16, 2014
Firstly, this move just makes the Eastern Conference that much more exciting going into next season. The Pacers get a little worse, the Hornets get a little better -- there seems to be a lot of teams that could fit anywhere into the playoff picture. With so many faces in new uniforms, who knows how it will play out?
So, what does Stephenson's signing mean in relation to the Celtics?
Well, it means that they probably overpaid on Avery Bradley.
It was made official yesterday that Bradley has signed his four-year/$32 million contract to remain in Boston. Sure, Stephenson comes with some personality questions, but doesn't Bradley come with injury questions that are equally (if not more) important?
With Stephenson set to earn just $1 million more than Bradley annually (for one less season/two in the case of the team option) it would appear that Danny Ainge misjudged the market.
As usual, there have been some brutal signings by GMs thus far in free agency. But there have also been some guards signed on the cheap that have proven to be effective in the league. Stephenson was widely viewed as a hotter commodity than Bradley around the league, but was locked down on what most would call a more friendly contract.
I like "AB" a lot as a player, but if you are giving me the choice of either player on their current contract, I'm taking "Born Ready" on my squad every time.
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Julian Edlow 7/16/2014 12:55:00 PM Tweet Edit