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Lance Stephenson could be on the cusp of becoming the all-star that Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan imagined former Duke star Gerald Henderson might become.

The best-case scenario is Stephenson becomes Charlotte’s version of Dennis Rodman for the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s – a bizarre personality, but so effective on those Bulls title teams that they kept him around and let Dennis be Dennis.

Ultimately, no one came out of Greg Hardy’s one-day “he-said, she-said” trial looking really good. But Hardy, by far, got the worst of it.

Have the Charlotte Hornets gotten any better since free agency began last Thursday? In a word, no, but maybe they eventually will.

After four years with the Miami Heat, LeBron James comes home to the state where he first drew national attention in high school and then began his sterling NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the only place he could go to close the circle.

Here’s where we should start if the Charlotte Hornets don’t get Utah’s Gordon Hayward: Not Lance Stephenson.

Is Gordon Hayward really worth the “max contract” the Charlotte Hornets have offered him? Yes and no. But this obvious overpayment is about the only way in the NBA that you can get a guy who averaged 16 points, five assists and five rebounds last season with the Utah Jazz and is healthy and only 24 years old.

Without McRoberts, the challenge is that Cody Zeller is a power forward who is not that powerful. Despite a build that sounds imposing – he is listed at 7 feet tall and 240 pounds – Zeller is not a physical presence down low by NBA standards.

What P.J. Hairston did Sunday afternoon – punching a high school basketball player during a pickup game at a Durham YMCA – was outrageous. It was ridiculous. It was dumb.

We have always known around The Charlotte Observer that Tom Higgins is a hall of fame storyteller. On Friday, NASCAR made it official.

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Scott Fowler is a national award-winning sports columnist for The Charlotte Observer.
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