Report: Clippers agree to trade for Lance Stephenson


Barring an unforeseen setback, Hornets shooting guard Lance Stephenson, and one of the best trolls in today’s NBA, will be a member of the Clippers for the 2015-16 season as Marc Stein of ESPN reports the two franchises have agreed ‘in principle’ on a deal.

If you missed the earlier report, in return for sending Stephenson to Los Angeles, the Charlotte Hornets will receive veterans Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes.

This deal is a shot in the dark for a Clippers team looking to get over the hump as they vie for a championship, falling in the western conference semi-finals under remarkable circumstances for the second year under Doc Rivers, team president and head coach.

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Lance Stephenson sends bold message to Knicks about hopeful NBA return
Lance Stephenson sends bold message to Knicks about hopeful NBA return /

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  • Last season, Stephenson had a year many found to be unimaginable. It was a popular consensus that Stephenson wouldn’t be worth whatever he’d sign during his period of free agency last summer, but he sunk way below those standards en route to the worst year of his NBA career. Averaging 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 61 games, Stephenson 37% from three, 17% from three, one of the worst marks in league history for a player who attempted at least 100 threes in a season, missed several games with injury, and failed to mesh with Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker, a combo many believed could improve what the Hornets trotted out in the backcourt the previous year.

    With Stephenson in and Barnes and Hawes out, the Clippers front office have a lot of work on their hand as they’re in desperate need of depth. No Barnes leaves the Clippers without a reliable small forward — Jordan Hamilton is the only forward on the roster and is non-guaranteed — and no Hawes leaves the Clippers without a big under contract, and worst-case scenario, without insurance in case DeAndre Jordan leaves in free agency.

    It’s easy to see why the Clippers would want out of the deal they gave Spencer Hawes a year ago, a four-year, $20+ million deal. A stretch big, Hawes failed to, well, stretch the floor, forcing things to go bad as he’d be pushed to fourth (and sometimes fifth behind Hedo) on the depth chart. Even when the Clippers needed depth in the playoffs, Rivers opted against assigning Hawes a key role, ultimately leading to a hasty exit.

    In regards to Barnes being included in the deal, he’s collateral damage to getting from up under Hawes’ contract. With a non-guaranteed deal going into the summer, Barnes could find himself a free agent this summer as Woj reports the Hornets haven’t decided whether they’re going to retain the veteran forward.

    With Stephenson now in the picture, here enters a dilemma at the shooting guard position. Behind J.J. Redick on the depth chart now stands Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, and last years first-round pick in C.J. Wilcox. To clear space, the easiest move would be to cut Crawford’s non-guaranteed deal or shipping him out in return for a big to sit behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the rotation.

    To put it simply, Doc Rivers signed up for a risk bringing in Stephenson, despite putting the franchise in position to benefit from the $9 million team option in the final year of Stephenson’s contract.

    LA is now the home of Born Ready.

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