Charlotte Hornets ship Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles
After a disastrous 2014-15 season with the Charlotte Hornets, Lance Stephenson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers late on Monday night. In return the Hornets received a couple of veteran players in Spencer Hawes, who also had a disappointing season and Matt Barnes. The trade was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Charlotte had signed Stephenson on a 3 year deal worth 27 million last summer in the hope that the 6 foot 5 inches shooting guard will provide the team with some much-needed offense. However, in 61 games played he started just 25 averaging 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists with terrible shooting percentages of 37.6% from the field and 17.1% from beyond the arc. The Clippers will however consider him an upgrade on the wing considering their former players who have played at that position.
With contracts of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin already on the books and the impending free agency of DeAndre Jordan during the summer, the only way the Clippers could have upgraded in the wings was by a trade and the Stephenson deal would most likely be the first move of what could be a busy summer with their bench also being an area of concern. Meanwhile for the Hornets, there couldn’t have been a better move than this.
“We are pleased to add a pair of proven veterans to our team,” Charlotte general manager Rich Cho said in a statement. “Spencer Hawes is an experienced big man whose outside shooting gives us additional flexibility on offense. Matt Barnes is an experienced veteran who knows the NBA.”
Charlotte would be looking to release Barnes via a buyout worth 1 million before the July 1st deadline, after which they will have to pay him his guaranteed 3.5 million dollars. On the other hand with Hawes, the team would be looking to boost their long range shooting arsenal. Hawes, who shoots well from long range for his height, also gives them a chance to space the floor for center Al Jefferson.
Acquiring Stephenson might come off as a bad move given his struggles in the past season still the move is a good calculated risk taken by the Clippers organization. He is definitely an upgrade for the team talent wise and if things go south in LA, the team could always use the team option for the third year on Stephenson’s contract.