After not expressing much interest in Lance Stephenson, the Hornets are now looking into possibly signing him, the Observer has learned.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 16, 2014
As various news outlets loosely linked Stephenson to Charlotte, Bonnell continued to hold firm to the notion that the Hornets were not "showing signs" that they wanted to add Indiana's mercurial guard. Of course, after losing Josh McRoberts to the Miami Heat and swinging and missing on Utah's Gordon Hayward, it is entirely possible that what was once merely a contingency plan for Charlotte quickly transformed into their top priority:
The Hornets are expressing interest in Lance Stephenson, source confirms. They'll meet with him tomorrow in Vegas. @rick_bonnell had it.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 16, 2014
With guard Brian Roberts' deal reportedly fitting into the room exception and Utah electing to match Gordon Hayward's offer sheet, Charlotte is now more than capable of offering Lance a lucrative two-year contract. In what now seems like foreshadowing for this exact scenario, Tim Donahue of 8 points, 9 seconds yesterday warned readers about the possibility of Stephenson being lured away by the high dollar amount of a short-term deal:
The biggest threat to the Pacers remains - in my opinion - a big dollar, short term contract. Indiana's offer of five years and $44 million only pays Lance roughly $7.7 million next season, and a combined $15.9 million in the first two. A two-year, $20 million offer gets Stephenson 25% more money in these years. I'm sure none of us doubt Stephenson's faith in both his talent and indestructibility, so should we doubt his faith in his ability to land another big contract in two years? Another big contract signed after a new TV deal is inked?
As of now, Lance packing his bags for Charlotte's promises of being utilized as a primary play maker and wing scorer is still far from a done deal. That being said, if one of the free agent's deciding factors among many is, indeed, the size of his paycheck, it is probably safe to say that the Pacers are not going to engage in a bidding war to retain his services:
Got in 1 question re: Lance. Simon: "We made him a wonderful offer and they didn’t think it was enough so it’s a simple situation."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) July 16, 2014
Producing a film about his NBA journey, it can be said that the Pacers, going above and beyond with their recruiting pitch, made their priorities clear to the Brooklyn native. With a 5-yr/$44M offer on the table and a reported meeting with a rival team in Las Vegas looming, the time is now for Lance to finally make his own intentions known.