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Stephenson says he's joining Hornets

<p>Lance Stephenson says he will play for the Charlotte Hornets.</p>

(SportsNetwork.com) - Lance Stephenson says he will play for the Charlotte Hornets.

The free-agent guard tweeted Wednesday 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!"

Stephenson has signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Hornets that includes a team option for the final season, according to ESPN.com

He turned down a five-year, $44 million offer from the Indiana Pacers after helping them reach the Eastern Conference finals in back-to-back seasons, according to the report.

Stephenson, 23, averaged career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (7.2), assists (4.6) and minutes (35.3) in 78 games this past season.

Questions about Stephenson's behavior were raised during the Eastern Conference finals after he blew into the ear of LeBron James during Game 5 and got into a tussle with teammate Evan Turner in practice.

He was fined twice for flopping in the series and was whistled for 14 technical fouls during the regular season, fourth-most in the league.

"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! I now have to look to the next phase of my career and the wonderful opportunity to continue to grow as a player and as a person in Charlotte! I'm excited to play for this franchise and the fans!"

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

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