With how quiet things have been around the Hornets in free agency so far, probably not going to be able to keep this going every day. But a lot of things happened yesterday that are tangentially related to who the Hornets snag in free agency.
Sir Lance Wants-a-Lot
The NBA offseason to date has been defined by power plays gone wrong. HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM GAME OF THRONES? The latest is Lance Stephenson not even considering the Pacers initial offer of 5 years/44 million dollars.
It’s pretty much comical with Lance Stephenson at this point. ‘The playoff antics certainly didn’t help kid, but here’s your chance to get a fresh start in free-agency.’ Nope. Just Lance being Lance. In a reported deal where Lance would have been paid approximately $8.8 million annually, he laughed in the Pacers face.
I’m afraid that the open market, or lack thereof, will get the last laugh.
Could Charlotte swoop in and overpay for this guy? Sure, and I think they may be the only team in the league seriously considering it, but whatever makes Stephenson believe that he can scoff at any deal under $10 million annually is what makes him the curious case that he is.
Lance Stephenson’s agent, Alberto Ebanks, has suggested that Stephenson wants to remain in Indiana:
“It’s just a matter of can we can come to terms with the Pacers. If we can, there’s no need to really change something that’s been working.”
Tough restricted free agent market for Lance Stephenson, little leverage on Pacers to be found.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
And Lance needs to understand that it’s unlikely that leverage presents itself. Now is where it gets interesting though, because if Stephenson waits around too long for the potential dust-storm, then he’s going to find himself back with the Pacers for cheaper than the team offered today.
Stephenson is that mold of versatile, jack-of-all-trades kind of player that’s just hard to come across. Last season he averaged 13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG & 4.6 APG. Oh, and also had career high percentages shooting the ball – 49.1% FG, 35.2% 3P. My gut tells me that the Hornets will flirt, and maybe really flirt, but ultimately hold back on any kind of max-money offer. To me, the risk is simply too high to bring a questionable character to a small market like Charlotte.
–Spencer Percy @QCHSpencer
Carry On My Hayward Son
Nothing equals this pleasure of max money in the NBA. It means somebody wants you…BAD. It means you ARE somebody (who would be even more grossly overpaid if you had JUST picked up a bat instead of a ball in high school). After filling the wheelbarrows full of cash for Kyrie, the Cavs found some more in the vault to reportedly dish out 14.8m or so per year for four years to Gordon Hayward. This effectively eliminates the Hornets from any contention, not because I believe Cleveland offers the better experience, money being equal, but because I don’t believe we’re ready to invest a majority of our free agency dollars into any ONE player much less one that shoots 41%. Also, this is likely to get done through a sign and trade and the Cavs have better assets to offer than the Hornets do aka Dion Waiters. This situation, coupled with what happened when GSW snuck in and nabbed Shaun Livingston with their full Mid-Level Exception, illustrates the most frustrating aspect of this year in free agency, the sheer amount of competition. Not only do you have to deal with several major markets with cap to spend but you have to worry about these other non-tax paying jerkhole teams who can swoop down all of a sudden in a hot air MLE or S&T balloon and snag our lucky charms. It’s all part of the cruel world of free agency…and breakfast cereal.
–Doug Branson @QCHDoug
Ben Gordon is a Necromancer
It’s really the only thing that explains how the 31 year old guard keeps making ridiculous amounts of money despite delivering little tangible value to a basketball team on or off the court. In the end Orlando has to pay SOMEBODY. So they opted to deal out 9 million over two years to Gordon. For what you dare ask? Shooting that no one can really attest to after being shame-benched for a year by Clifford and Co. despite our desperate need for outside shooting. Veteran leadership? He just came away from one of the youngest teams in the NBA and they weren’t exactly lining up to say, “Put’m in coach.” In the end dear Ben Gordon is the beneficiary of a team salary minimum that must be met. If you are going to dump salary into a player, it might as well be one that won’t mind sitting on the end of the bench with the same look on his face night after night.
–Doug Branson @QCHDoug
Things will really heat up once Melo makes a decision and the moratorium ends on July 10th. Chandler Parsons is the big wildcard at this point because he can hold Houston’s feet to the fire by excepting an early contract offer that forces them to match and give up on Melo, or let him fly away. Stay tuned for more updates and have a safe and fun Fourth of July from all of us here at Queen City Hoops.
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