As a long-time Lance Stephenson fan, I hated to see his playing time cut in his first season in Charlotte. He left the Indiana Pacers and signed a 3-year/$27 million contract with them last Summer.
Well, his stay in Charlotte was a brief one. The Hornets traded Stephenson to the Los Angeles Clippers for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes.
The eccentric guard lead the league in triple-doubles in 2013-14 with Indiana, but only started 25 games in Charlotte last season. He fell into coach Steve Clifford’s doghouse for his selfish play (and random tomfoolery).
The Clippers are a perennial contender in the Western Conference. What does the addition of Stephenson mean for the Clippers this offseason?
The Los Angeles Clippers have a lot of money coming off the books this offseason. They currently only have six players with guaranteed contracts (with a team option on Jamal Crawford). They will certainly make re-signing DeAndre Jordan a priority. After that, they have a lot of options. The possibility of making a run at signing LaMarcus Aldridge is looking more and more appealing.
Stephenson will most likely come off the bench for the Clippers. He will takeover the role Barnes had as their sixth or seventh-man. He does have a big personality, but so does Barnes. It shouldn’t be as big of an issue as we all think. Chris Paul is the leader in the locker room and won’t deal with a lot of nonsense. Stephenson is a better all-around player than Barnes and will be a guy the Clippers can lean on every once in awhile to win games…but not every night.
One major positive that comes with the trade comes with protecting Blake Griffin. NBA players love to get into shoving matches with their star power forward. Well, Stephenson is a psychopath on the court. I believe teams will think twice about going after Grififn as much.
I love this trade for the Clippers. Stephenson should have been an All-Star in Indiana and he’s clearly a guy that needs to be on the right team to succeed. I believe the Clippers is a great fit for him.
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.