The Indiana Pacers may have just taken another big step back after their dismal previous season as they are set to lose free agent Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets.
The Pacers had planned to keep their enigmatic yet troublesome shooting guard but Stephenson took to free agency and was smoothed over by Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets.
Stephenson reportedly accepted a short team deal on Wednesday with the Charlotte Hornets, it will see him earn $18million in his first two seasons with the franchise and the team will have an option to pick up a further third year for the player at an extra $9.4 million.
The Pacers really made a valiant effort at keeping the shooting guard, having guided him through his early years in the NBA and helping him develop his craft it seems as though the organisation have been left high and dry as Stephenson flew the coop.
At the beginning of free agency, Indiana invited the most important people in Stephenson's life to a presentation that would that commemorate and praise the young star, they offered to pay him double annually what he had already earned in his career and it simply wasn't enough for him to stay.
Larry Bird is very much the man in Indiana and basketball operations are under his control, he had made it clear that he intended to keep Stephenson on the roster and said at the beginning of free agency: ""That's my boy, you know that, I'll take care of him — if I can."
Stephenson took to twitter shortly after he signed with the Hornets to pay his respects to his old team, he tweeted: "Indy, I had a great 4 years. Thank you Larry Bird, the fans, my coaches and teammates for the incredible"
Alberto Ebanks is the agent of Stephenson and explained that the player had received a multitude of options but said: ""It wasn't really about the money, (But) If it's going to be too little then don't let it be too long because you're losing on both ends."
Stephenson made significant leaps last season and really announced himself to the NBA, despite Indiana's collapse and his occasional misbehaviour, Stephenson continued to show the hunger to win.
Even though the Pacers were a better team than the Hornets last season, their recent additions including Stephenson suggest that Michael Jordan is building quite the team in Charlotte and plans to contend for a title very soon.