Lance Stephenson was widely mocked for turning down an offer of five years at $44 million by Indiana Pacers because most felt that was a fair deal.
According to ESPN, Stephenson’s agent, Alberto Ebanks, released a statement which said, “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.”
Lance Stephenson is only 23 and signing a five year deal worth just over eight million a season might give him some security however seeing as his potential is still untapped his market value is more likely to rise in the future.
There is a precedent for this: In 1991 Scottie Pippen signed a seven year deal, with Chicago Bulls, for $22 million, making him one of the highest paid players at the time. However within six years NBA contracts rose drastically, making Pippen, who was not only a five time champion at the time, but also named one of the 50 greatest all time players in the NBA, one of the lowest paid players in the league at the peak of his prowess.
Now Lance Stephenson is no Pippen, but he was a key cog on a team that played in the last two eastern conference finals.
Stephenson has since signed a three year deal worth $27 million, to play for the Charlotte Hornets.
The big risk with playing for the Hornets is that Stephenson could be exposed as being good due to Indiana, one of the best teams in the NBA that plays without a superstar but has good players at every position (except, arguably, the point guard position). That is probably why Indiana refused to budge from their initial offer to Stephenson because maybe they felt that he flourished in their system.
Now he plays for the Hornets who made the playoffs last season but were swept by Miami and has yet to win a playoff game since they were called Bobcats (since 2004/05).
There is no clear winner here as Stephenson demoted himself and Indiana got significantly weaker on the perimeter defense. However Stephenson has a chance to show his true potential and Indiana can get a player who comes without Stephenson’s on court antics, which were considered a distraction.