Clippers: Why Doc Rivers may trade Lance Stephenson now

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Dec 10, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers during the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Teams only have till December 18 for the best Stephenson deal possible

By “best deal possible”, this means maintaining the chance to move Lance elsewhere if he doesn’t work out. Which, for a character like Stephenson, whose performance has been up and down over the last few years, would make perfect sense for other teams.

NBA franchises may have a couple of months to make deals, but a lot will be happening over the next few days. If teams want the chance to re-trade a player they acquire, they must make a deal by December 18 in order to be eligible to move them again before the trade deadline on February 18.

It makes total sense if teams are concerned a player may not work out. If they make something happen by December 18, they don’t need to worry about having them for a whole season or dealing with free agency next summer. For guys like Stephenson, who aren’t guaranteed to be a success in every system around the league, this makes even more sense.

This is what gives the indication that if other teams are actually interested in trading for Stephenson, they should want to do so quickly. Lance has shown that he’s the kind of player you need to take a chance on, as he’s been inconsistent over the course of his career, yet he clearly has real talent if utilized correctly.

If someone else wants to try Stephenson but hold onto the option to re-trade him before the deadline on February 18, the Clippers are going to be making a deal fast. Plus, if they have in fact been ‘gauging interest’ in him, they may have already made some initial calls to look for potential deals so they can act quickly now that trade season is here.

Again, it shouldn’t happen, but who knows what GM Rivers has in mind.

This brings us onto the next key factor, which is Doc’s total misuse and demotion of Stephenson over the last few weeks.

Next: Stephenson's puzzling demotion to the bench