Charlotte Hornets

Clifford: Al Jefferson was a breakthrough free-agent signing

Former Charlotte Hornets and current Indiana Pacers center Al Jefferson acknowledges the crowd’s applause with a wave Monday.
Former Charlotte Hornets and current Indiana Pacers center Al Jefferson acknowledges the crowd’s applause with a wave Monday. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte Hornets did a nice video tribute Monday night for their former center, Al Jefferson, who signed with the Indiana Pacers in July.

Jefferson was a breakthrough free-agent signing for the then-Charlotte Bobcats in the summer of 2013. Clifford and point guard Kemba Walker recruited Jefferson aggressively, with the team reaching out to him the first day of free-agency.

Clifford said Monday signing Jefferson still pays the Hornets dividends, as far as perception among other free agents.

"This league, in terms of things like that, is important, how your perceived by the players," Clifford said. "The players talk, and the fact that he came here has opened the door" for other signings.

"A big part (of successful free-agent recruitment), frankly, is the location of the city. You have to have a place where people like to live. This is a nice city for an athlete. The airport is a part of that; there are direct flights everywhere. The weather is great and the people are great."

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