It just wasn’t a good fit for Lance Stephenson and the Charlotte Hornets. Stephenson was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers for Spencer Hawes and veteran Matt Barnes on Monday. Barnes is unlikely to stay at Charlotte, it is conceivable that he will be paid out by Hornets management, which would make Barnes a free agent. As far as the Hornets are concerned, the trade posed zero risk, as Stephenson’s production in his inaugural season with the team regressed across the board. Clippers’ Coach Doc Rivers believes Stephenson will excel in a variety of roles, hinting that he may be groomed into the Clippers go to defensive option on the perimeter.
“Obviously he really struggled last year and I looked at that as an undervalued asset more than a guy who can’t play … the one thing he has shown in major playoff games is that he can be a top-tier defender.” – Doc Rivers
However, the trade does not come without risks. Stephenson has a history of being problematic in the locker room, exhibiting a personality that is hard to control. Despite this, the potential upside of Stephenson could be the missing piece for a franchise pursuing the ultimate goal. Stephenson averaged 8.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 3.9 apg last season.