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Report: Lance Stephenson’s camp viewed five-year offer from Pacers as ‘an albatross’

Jul 16, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

The initial offer from the Pacers to Lance Stephenson in free agency was for five years and $44 million guaranteed, which may not seem too bad on the surface.

But for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t even under consideration by Stephenson’s camp, and he rejected it immediately before looking elsewhere.

Indiana continued to sign other players while waiting on Stephenson, but those moves only made it less likely he’d be back, considering that precious salary cap dollars were being taken away by those deals, and so any new offer that the Pacers came up with would have had to have been for less than the initial one, barring a gutting of some of the team’s additional players.

Even setting all of that aside, the original offer was the primary issue.

From Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:

The agreement with the Hornets comes after the Pacers had offered “a couple of options” to Stephenson, according to his agent Alberto Ebanks. One option involved more up front money but less overall and the higher of the offers was a five-year deal – an albatross in the view of Stephenson’s camp – worth $44 million.

“It wasn’t really about the money,” Ebanks said. “(But) If it’s going to be too little then don’t let it be too long because you’re losing on both ends. …

“We’re betting on Lance and not against Lance. So if he had to take a little bit less, he was willing to do that. But you don’t want to take a little bit less and play your entire basketball prime, the next five years for a lower amount of money. If you’re going to take less, take less for a less amount of time then hit reset. … and enter the free agent market.”

For that last reason, the five-year deal was completely one-sided in favor of the Pacers.

Stephenson has certainly had his issues, most recently being a distraction more than he was an asset against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and doing so on more than one occasion. But overall, he made a leap from a production standpoint last year, and was instrumental in helping Indiana get off to a strong start, especially during the first half of the season.

A five-year contract that paid him less than $9 million per year in total (remember, guys like Avery Bradley are getting $8 million per year in this market) was a semi-slap in the face. It was apparently treated as one by Stephenson’s team, who didn’t even give the Pacers a chance to match the offer that was ultimately accepted in Charlotte.

  1. coldwater32301 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    And the Pacers just lost their best offensive weapon…Indeed…

    • hehateme2 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      I bet the HEAT will STILL own the pacers.

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Doubt it – PG entering his prime, Dwade will play maybe 50% of the games this season – Heat will be mediocre. Pacers will be slightly above mediocre

  2. bdachan12 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Horse shiet. I’m sure Indy would have given him a shorter contract in the beginning if he asked for it. He thought he was worth more and he wasn’t so he had to go with the best offer left on the table after Indy started spending. Nice try at spin though I guess.

    • dannymac17 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      started spending? on whom exactly?

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        Back up players such as C.J Miles, Rudez, and I think they signed another scrub too..But this Rudez guy actually looks pretty damn good as a stretch 4

    • johnc44 - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      He didn`t give them a chance to match because he already talked to them about a shorter deal and their offer was less than Charlotte`s.He thought he was going to get paid like Parsons & Hayward and he lost.He signed the deal because it`s the best he could get but a unhappy Stephenson could be a disaster for Charlotte.They better hope they get off to a good start because if things go bad early he`ll ruin that team.

    • Chris - Jul 16, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      I read that they did offer him a shorter deal but again for much less than 9 million.

  3. edavidberg - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    This is a pretty fair deal. After all, Luol Deng only got $10 million a year. Ariza got $8 mill per. A 5 year contract at those numbers though was definitely team friendly. Stephenson is only 23 and could easily outperform a 5 year deal.

    This is a really nice deal for the Hornets. They are shaping up to have another nice season.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    They can go right back to mediocrity now. Thank God. Tired of hearing about that team. Right now, the East is as follows (in no particular order):


    • msuspartan89 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Are you disrespecting my Pistons?

      • zerole00 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        I think the Pistons disrespected themselves with their play on the court.

    • rrhoe - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      I was with you right up to the Knicks……

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        lol, I’m right there with you, rrhoe!

    • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      LOL the knicks…

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Naturally, you clowns think last season wasn’t the aberration that it was, but completely ignore the 54-win team. They’ll be right back in the playoff mix this year.

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        RELAX Mr. Wrong. Everything will be okay

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      Mr. Wright

      Why’d he get so much thumbs down on this? It looks pretty accurate as of right now.

  5. amgdds - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    I’m no expert, just watched a lot of Bobcats basketball. Obvious to see McRoberts was a connector, but gotta love this move. Lance score 5pts more, nearly 3 Rebs more and had slightly more assists. The guy led the league in triple doubles. Moderate risk, high reward. And, big al is really the leader in the hornets locker room that very likely wouldn’t tolerate too many shenanigans. The pacers never had that guy to keep him in line, if he needs to be kept in line. You hope if lance has somewhat of a brain, he’d have learned his lesson and work real hard over the next 3 years.

    Nice move.

    • johnc44 - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      He`ll work hard and he`ll have some triple doubles but Al Jefferson isn`t going to be able to control him anymore than David West was because he can`t control himself.After he blew in Lebron`s ear in game 6 everybody talked to him.He said himself that Bird told him to knock it off so he`d never do that again so in game 7 he slaps Lebron in the face because although i think he means well he is dumber than a box of rocks and has little self control.(pushing pregnant girlfriend down stairs for example) he has the talent to be high reward but if you`ve ever talked to him the risk is more than moderate.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      We Bobcats/Hornets fans have to stick together but I don’t think anybody should be allowed to cite Lance Stephenson’s triple doubles as a positive stat. The dude became obsessed with stats for a stretch last year and completely sabotaged his team. It wasn’t a positive thing when he got a triple double.

  6. bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I hope Lance has the worst possible career the rest of the way through. He will never win a championship. He’s a moron. I got the chance to briefly speak to him in person months ago, and immediately I could tell that this dude has the IQ of an 8 year old boy

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      You sound like the (abhorrently childish) moron here. Wishing nothing but negativity on the guy, and this was after your foolish Knicks comment.

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        You really need to relax man. I’m a die hard Pacers fan – of course I’m going to be salty he left, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Soooo chill with this name callings for no reason.

        All i said was LOL the knicks and your panties are all in a bunch now. relax. Gooooseee Phraba

      • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Lance wasn’t the problem. It’s was Catfish boy PG and chopping down Hibbert’s woman.

        Lance was more than happy leaving that 17 on the table to get out of that mess. Leaving podunk Indiana was just icing on the cake.

      • dexterismyhero - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        @therealhtj—–moving to Charlotte is somehow better than Indianapolis?

        you are a true a$$hat………..

      • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Charlotte is London, Paris, and Tokyo all rolled into one compared to Indy.

      • johnc44 - Jul 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        @therealhtj If you think PG was more of the problem than Lance your a complete idiot and if you knew anything about Lance at all you would know the bigger the city he`s in the more trouble he`ll find.He lives in the downtown bars.
        He`s happy to go wherever he gets the most money because he proved last season after the all star break he cared more about stats & money than winning and he`s already talking about being an all star in 3 years and getting that big contract again so if Charlotte wants a great talent they got it but if they want to win they just messed up because Lance is a baller but he`s not a winner.

      • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 9:04 PM

        There go those fine midwestern values, rushing to call people names.

        PG is already the best player in Pacers history, but off court issues were this team’s downfall.

        Peckerwoods, hear me out. PG wasn’t the problem ON THE COURT. But his off the court antics sure didn’t help. How else you gonna explain Hibbert’s total collapse?

    • patfic5 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      I’m guessing he didn’t loan you the money you asked him for….

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        No he didn’t

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Your IQ is not supposed to change as you get older. That’s why they administer IQ exams to – you guessed it – 8 year old boys.

      It’s like many of the regular posters on this site. No matter how many times I educate them, month after month their intelligence does not increase.

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Consider me educated now. thanks

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        lol are you serious about your IQ not changing as you get older?? You need to read up on IQ tests.

        And here’s a bonus: any IQ test that gives you a static number, isn’t the best IQ test. The top IQ tests gives the person a range (i.e. IQ between 134-139).

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        Psych major and IQ test enthusiast here. IQ is not supposed to change as you age; that’s why they have specialized tests like the WISC for children. But there are some problems in measuring child IQs like how children develop very rapidly and sometimes at different rates than each other. It’s a lot easier to compare 32 year olds than it is 7 year olds. But generally IQ remains the same no matter how hard you study or how many drugs you do… it’s just an attempt to measure the base intelligence of an individual. And intelligence is sort of generally defined as how quickly and accurately you learn new things. Personally, my child IQ scores were slightly higher than my adult scores.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      I would love for you to say all that to his face.

  7. simoneauchristopher5 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Funny, you bring up Bradley as being overpaid, but when you look at his #’s compared to Stephenson, they’re very close. Stephenson is a better rebounder & he’s bigger. Bradley is a better defender and he is MUCH faster than DS. DS is a lunatic who isn’t able to be trusted in big games, and AB has been one of the most coachable Celtics since the day he entered the league. They’ve also missed about the same amount of games. Just pointing out the facts…

    • 76ersdoubletank - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:39 PM


      I think the insuation that Bradley is “as good” as Lance isn’t accurate. Distributing the ball from the two makes Stephenson very valuable to other teams, (as long as his head is on straight) He averaged 4.7 APG last year, where as Bradley operates as a more traditional two (averaging 1.7 in less min).

      Lance is indeed a better rebounder, and overall he’s a better shooter. Stephenson carried a better FG% last year (.491 to .438 for Bradley), and although Bradley is a better 3 point shooter, Lance is much better from close range, whereas Bradley is very inefficent (he attempted nearly 12 per game last year, indications of a volumer shooter).

      As defenders, that seems to be about even, although Bradley is more adept at creating some steals. Still, I would argue Lance is a better player at this point.

  8. azarkhan - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    The ‘albatross’ for Lance Stephenson was of his own creation, i.e., his behavior during the Heat-Pacers series. It doesn’t matter how good a player is if his head isn’t right.

    • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Nah, the Albatross was being stuck living in an overgrown corn field the next 5 years.

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Y such a hatrid for Indy? It’s actually an awesome city, and I see you all over this comment section spreading your hate for Indy. No one cares if you dislike Indy. Lance said many times he would love to return to this “corn field” state as you so kindly put it.

        Oh an btw – responding to your ignorant comment earlier bc u clearly believe every rumor u hear – there was also rumors of Lance banging Hibby’s girl and also another rumor that Hibby was aware and cool with PG banging his girl and another rumor that Roy and Hibby had a three-some with Roy’s girl. Can’t believe everything you hear. If it’s not fact, don’t spread it

  9. loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    What does Indy do now?
    Wait for the Hornets to release Gerald Henderson?

    This is really going to mess up the Pacers.

    • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Coming from a Pacers fan – there’s nothing we can do now. We’re headed for playoff mediocrity for awhile now unless we can bring in a solid 1 or 2 player to pair with PG.

      But we all know Larry is trying to pull something out of his sleeve, so I’m interested to see what kind of moves he’ll make

      • loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        If the signing official? If not i wonder if Larry is trying to work a Sign & Trade

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Yeah i think Lance officially signed this morning – and I hope Larry does a sign and trade for somebody good. Lord knows we need it now

  10. ravenswhat - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Nice spin. In the vein of “you never know what can happen” I would think it more prudent for an agent to take a larger guaranteed contract as opposed to gambling on a future contract that may or may not be viable.

  11. johnc44 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    For all of you who think Lance is so great why could he only get 2 years 18 million guaranteed?Marvin Williams got 14 for 2.Channing Frye got 32 mill guaranteed.
    Lance is a head case and a locker room cancer.He spends more time in the downtown bars than at Bankers Life Arena.Every GM in the league refused to give him big money.
    He is more than just immature.He is borderline crazy and while it will hurt this season long term the team is better off without him.

    • tigeralum2010 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      I’m not the biggest Lance fan in the world but didn’t he lead the NBA in triple-doubles last year? He got less money because he’s a head case, sure, but he’s a good all-around player. Big loss for the Pacers without a clear replacement for his production/shot-creation/rebounding/defense

      • johnc44 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        So you should pay him 10m a year because he had 5 triple doubles?They went from 33-7 to 22-20 without any injuries.The only difference was Lance stated thinking about getting paid instead of winning.If you didn`t play sports i can`t explain how important chemistry is to a team but if you`ve ever played on a team with a selfish,immature person who only cares about stats and constantly gripes and complains and points fingers at everyone except themselves then you understand sometimes there is addition by subtraction.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        No! The praise for Lance’s triple doubles stops here. He earned those triple doubles and many of his impressive stats at the expense of his team. Lance felt slighted because he didn’t make the all star team and after that he totally derailed his team chasing stats to prove everybody wrong about him. Now I hope he turns it around for the Hornets sake but let’s not get too excited about him leading the league in anything other than Team Chemistries Ruined-1.

    • loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Frye got that money because Orlando needed to hit the Salary Cap Floor

      • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        The penalty for not hitting the salary floor is pay out the difference equally amongst the players on your roster. Not exactly the repeater tax there.

        Signing Frye to that type of deal was just bad GM work.

  12. tigeralum2010 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Smart move by both sides.

  13. granadafan - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    You can’t say it’s not about the money and then go to a team like the Hornets.

  14. loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Hornets are up and coming a lot of young talent and a very underrated Al Jefferson in the middle.

    George Hill has been suspect at the Point now you lost your 2 guard.

    • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Agreed, the Pacers are back to mediocre playoff team now. I’m so disappointed – we were on such a good rise, and now we have to sit through more seasons of mediocrity

      • loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Evan Turner might be getting a phone call

      • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Yeah but ET doesn’t know how to play as a part of a team. He wants to be the 1 man show out there. That’s just not the Pacers type of ball

      • loubearkane - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Rodney Stuckey is still out there

  15. rrhoe - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Lance Stephenson and “Can’t Get Right” on the same squad,not that will be worth the price of admission……..

    • rrhoe - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      Lance Stephenson and “Can’t Get Right” on the same squad,now that will be worth the price of admission……..

  16. jadaruler - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    I could be wrong but Paul George should’ve waited to sign his contract. He would’ve been the 2nd biggest free agent this summer.

    Indy made some good moves, but Hill and Hibbert need to step up or Lance will be right about the albatross.

    • bball242322 - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      PG had no interest in being a free agent bc he loves Indy and wanted to stay here long term. But you’re right that he would’ve been the 2nd biggest free agent this summer if he did

      • therealhtj - Jul 16, 2014 at 9:12 PM

        HA! Please. Given a choice PG would’ve put Indy so far in his rearview, it’d barely be an afterthought.

        He signed because it was a chance to get that “Set Your Family Up for Generations” money and Indy was the only team who could guarantee it at that time.

        If he’d made it to restricted free agency, no one would bother signing him to an offer sheet because Indy would’ve simply matched. It’s not like they’ll ever attract stars in free agency.

        Get back to us in 4 years when he’s going into his contract year and Indy is, well, still Indy.

  17. 00maltliquor - Jul 16, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    The East is wide open now. I love this move for the BobHornets. Look out for them in 2015.

  18. obmig - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    He has talent but I wouldn’t have given him a big deal either. Charlotte worked out a great deal for both player and team and if he grows up in the next 3 years he will get the deal he thought he deserved this summer.

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