Even before the 2014 NBA offseason commenced, the Hornets made it clear that they will be major players in the free agent market, going aggressively after another star player to help put the team back on the map as Eastern Conference contenders. Armed with money to spend and a playoff-caliber team already in place, the Hornets are rolling the dice in the hopes of luring a top flight free agent to the Queen City.
The Hornets have also made it clear that they want their free agent bucks to go to Stephenson. The talented guard could fill a much-needed role beside up-and-coming star Kemba Walker in the backcourt. Stephenson is one of the league’s top one-on-one defensive players, and as a bonus, he could provide Charlotte with a much-needed scoring punch at the two-guard position.
But the Hornets were waiting to see what move the Pacers were going to make, as the team has also professed that they want to keep their star guard in town. But when Stephenson reportedly turned down a five-year, $44 million deal with the Pacers, this could open the door for Charlotte to make their pitch.
I said all along that the chances of Indiana keeping Stephenson were slim, as he was looking forward to testing his value on the free agent market. Charlotte would be the best choice for Stephenson, as he would become one of the feature players on a Hornets team with a much brighter future than the Pacers.
This is the time for Charlotte to make their move.