Stephenson says he will join Hornets

AFP
Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers looks on from the bench against the Miami Heat during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida (AFP Photo/Mike Ehrmann)

Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers looks on from the bench against the Miami Heat during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida

Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers looks on from the bench against the Miami Heat during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida (AFP Photo/Mike Ehrmann)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Free agent guard Lance Stephenson, who helped Indiana reach back-to-back Eastern Conference finals, says he is leaving the Pacers to join the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.

Stephenson tweeted that he was looking forward "to the next phase of my career and the wonderful opportunity to continue to grow as a player and as a person in Charlotte!"

US sports broadcaster ESPN reported that Stephenson has signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Hornets that includes a team option for the final season.

The 23-year-old Stephenson reportedly turned down a five-year, $44 million deal from the Pacers.

Stephenson was slapped with 14 technical fouls during the regular season. He was fined twice for flopping during the Eastern Conference finals where he also got into a tussle with teammate Evan Turner during a practice.

Stephenson averaged career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (7.2), assists (4.6) and minutes (35.3) in 78 games this past season.

"Indy, I had a great 4 years," Stephenson wrote on Twitter. "Thank you Larry Bird, the fans, my coaches and teammates for the incredible experience.

"I will never forget any of you!"

He has career averages of 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists across four seasons with Indiana.

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