As many of you know, I’ve been a vocal fan of Lance Stephenson since he was drafted by the Indiana Pacers. I would champion his skills and wonder why he was sitting at the end of the bench. He then took Dahntay Jones’ spot and went on to fill-in for an injured Danny Granger. He took advantage of the opportunity and should have been an All-Star last season.
Stephenson left Indiana and signed a nice deal with the Charlotte Hornets. He hasn’t quite fit in with Charlotte and they find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Michael Jordan did not expect last year’s 7th seed to fail this bad.
On December 15th, NBA teams can officially trade players they signed this offseason. With all the drama surrounding the situation in Charlotte, could Stephenson have a new home before the end of the calendar year?
Stephenson’s contract isn’t huge (three years $27 million), but NBA teams appear to be scared of adding his presence in the locker room. He butted heads with Evan Turner last year and recently rumors have pointed out Stephenson (not Paul George) was the reason Roy Hibbert struggled.
“Lance Stephenson is my favorite player to watch in the NBA.” I must have tweeted out that statement a few dozens times over the last few years. It’s not because he’s the best player in the NBA, but because you never know what’s going to happen next. It’s a fun feeling to have as a fan, but it must be paralyzing to feel that way about a player you’re coaching or as the general manager of that player’s team.
I don’t see Charlotte giving up on Stephenson just yet. I do see them trying to move Gerald Henderson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Winning cures all so-called ‘chemistry issues.’ If they can string together a few wins together, the trade rumors will end. You may even stumble across this article in May of next year and laugh that this was even a rumor.
Keep doing you, Lance.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.