Lance Stephenson chose Michael Jordan over Larry Bird.
Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets early Wednesday morning after his reps met with the team’s owner, Jordan, general manager Rich Cho, and coach Steve Clifford on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
This comes after Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird offered “Born Ready” a five-year, $44 million contract on July 1st, the first day NBA teams could sign a free agent. If this report pans out, Stephenson’s career with the Pacers ends on a productive, but volatile note.
Critics pointed the finger at the shooting guard when Pacers center Roy Hibbert commented that some of Indiana’s players are “selfish” toward the dismal end of last season. The Pacers dropped nine of their final 15 games to end the regular season and needed seven games to eliminate the eighth-seed Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, before the Miami Heat eliminated them during the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Game 5 of the latter series, Stephenson made headlines for forcing his way into Miami’s huddle to the ire of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and later blowing into LeBron James’s ear, instantly becoming the butt of endless Internet memes.
All being said, Stephenson still came into his own during the 2013-14 season, averaging career-highs in points (13.8), rebounds (7.2) and assists (4.6) per game, while leading the league with the most triple doubles (six).
Think Jordan is calling his former rival Bird right about now and giving him some ish for pulling this off? Probably.