Before Lance Stephenson signed a three-year, $27.4 million deal with the Hornets, owner Michael Jordan told Stephenson that he expects him to “calm down” his on-court antics next season. The Hornets see Stephenson’s infamous ear-blowing incident with LeBron James as a by-product of his competitive demeanor, but expect him to mature his behavior. Per the Charlotte Observer:
Hornets owner Michael Jordan attended the meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday night that resulted in Stephenson signing a 3-year, $27.4 million contract. Jordan spoke very directly with Stephenson before signing off on this contract.
“He told me what he likes about me, he told me what I need to calm down on,” Stephenson told the Observer after the news conference. “He told me how I can contribute to the team. And he told me he believed in my talent. He likes my competitive edge.”
Coach Steve Clifford sounds OK with the prospect of managing this tradeoff – what Indianapolis media labeled “good Lance” and “bad Lance.”
“I think those things are a by-product of the fact that he badly wants to win,” Clifford said in a conference call from Las Vegas, where the Hornets continue in summer league.
“Our owner talked to him specifically about the fact that those are things that we can work on. He knows that. He knows that sometimes he has crossed the line a little bit. I think he does that out of competitiveness.”
While Stephenson acknowledges he must comport himself better, he sees his attitude as one of the things that got him this far.