It’s easy to point out who was the biggest loser was in this year’s free agent bonanza. Lance Stephenson, by listening to the wrong people, overvalued his worth, and in the end he lost out on $17 million by signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
Stephenson got a harsh reality check about overvaluing your worth. Yes, Stephenson was a hot commodity this offseason, but because of his on-court antics, his value dropped tremendously. Everybody knew that Stephenson’s value was not going to be that much, but nobody managed to tell Stephenson that. And that’s why it was such a shocker that he would turn down a four-year, $44 million offer from the Indiana Pacers.
Now don’t get me wrong. He will be a tremendous asset to the Hornets, and I wrote a piece in this very space about how Stephenson would be a great fit in Charlotte. By playing with a better point guard in Kemba Walker, he will be relieved of some of the ball handling load he had to shoulder in Indiana. That will allow him to play more off the ball, which could lead him to have a banner year for the Hornets.
But the Hornets are not contending for the Eastern Conference title this year. Are they playoff team? Most definitely. But a contender? Not yet. He turned down an extra $17 million from a contending team because he — foolishly — thought he was worth a max contract deal. What he got instead from Michael Jordan and the Hornets was a rude wake-up call in the art of valuing your self-worth.