Al Jefferson will no longer be in the teal and purple. He will be signing a three year deal with the Indiana Pacers with most reports indicating no option on either side.
Al Jefferson has agreed in principle to a three-year, $30M deal with Indiana, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2016
Jefferson's last year in Charlotte was definitely not his best. He spent a large portion of the season injured, and when he did make his way back to the court he had become slow, and his defense had at moments been even worse than his reputation had let on. That was until he made a return to the starting lineup in the playoffs and had some incredible games to help bring the Hornets through seven thrilling games. Unfortunately, while most seemed to want Jefferson to stay, there was an understanding that the two sides time together could potentially reach an end.
Charlotte's play style took a completely different turn this year. One that didn't fit the skill set of Big Al's post moves and grind it out style. The Hornets attack had become more focused on cutting, and 3-point shooting, less on Kemba Walker isolations and Jefferson post ups. Being quick on defense was more important than ever, and Jefferson's injuries just wouldn't let him keep up. Yet there was an understanding that both sides wanted to stay together, because of what Jefferson meant to the franchise.
When Big Al signed in Charlotte the then Bobcats were a joke. Laughingstock of the NBA that had managed to finish near the bottom in both offense and defense. They couldn't score to save their lives. Yet, Jefferson decided to sign with Charlotte. The result was a playoff run nobody saw coming, and an All-NBA team appearance for Jefferson. He dazzled us with post moves and bent entire defenses to his will. The man made Charlotte NBA basketball relevant again.
Why Jefferson and the Hornets couldn't come to an agreement that would keep him in Charlotte is unknown. Maybe Big Al saw something in Indiana that he didn't see with the Hornets, or maybe it had to do with money. Either way, it's a slightly sad day. We all knew the breakup would eventually happen, but we'll always have the memories. Thanks Al Jefferson. For everything.