The mercurial swingman announced on Twitter that he will join the Charlotte Hornets next season. His contract terms have not been officially released, but multiple reports have his deal being for three years and $27 million, including a team option for the third year.
Stephenson, who has spent the first four seasons of his career with the Indiana Pacers, reportedly turned down a five-year, $44 million deal with Indiana at the start of free agency.
Stephenson had a breakout season in 2013-14, setting career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (7.2) and assists (4.6). But his on-court antics arguably overshadowed his improved play, most famously blowing in LeBron James’ ear during an Eastern Conference finals game. Stephenson also received some blame for the Pacers’ sudden late-season implosion, reportedly clashing with teammates.
Stephenson joins a Hornets team — formerly known as the Bobcats — that ended a four-year playoff drought last season. Charlotte could make some noise in a wide-open Eastern Conference, adding Stephenson to versatile big man Al Jefferson, rising point guard Kemba Walker and No. 9 overall pick Noah Vonleh.