Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, in return the Hornets received two veterans, center Spencer Hawes and forward Matt Barnes according to Sporting News.
The Hornets signed the highly talented and inconsistent Stephenson as a free agent last season after he left the Indiana Pacers. In Charlotte, Stephenson got off to a decent start, but his overall stay with the Hornets was quite underwhelming. His statistics for the seasons left much to be desired, as he scored 8.2 points per game, pulled down 4.5 rebounds per game, had 3.8 assists per game, and was only on the court for 25.8 minutes per game. All of those statistics are lower than in his final season with the Pacers.
Stephenson spent more time on the trading block than in the starting line-up, as he came off the bench in all but 25 of the Hornets games after starting 150 in his previous two seasons in Indiana.
While Stephenson was a huge disaster in Charlotte, his energy, playmaking abilities, and defensive awareness make him an interesting addition to the Los Angeles Clippers rotation. The Clippers are oozing with veterans, but coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers knows that the team needs versatile and young talent, which Stephenson possesses.
Stephenson is the exact type of player you want in the young and talented western conference. With all the veterans that the Clippers include in their roster, this team will be more similar to the Indiana Pacers, where Stephenson excelled, then the Charlotte Hornets.
Lance Stephenson only has one guaranteed year left on his contract with the Hornets that is worth $9 million, with a team option for the following season worth $9.4 million. This means Doc Rivers can take a chance with Stephenson without him being locked in for multiple seasons if the plan does not go well.
Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes are decent additions to a team unable to make the NBA playoffs.
The 35-year-old Barnes has one year left on his deal with the Clippers that is worth $3.5 million, while Hawes, who was a key free agent last summer, has three years and approximately $17.3 million left. Yahoo Sports first reported the trade talks.
The Hornets will likely buy out the contract of Matt Barnes before July 1, when they will only have to pay $1 million of the $3.5 million owed to him.
The Clippers are stuck under the salary cap and needed to find creative ways to improve their roster. This trade is a perfect way to do so, with the loss of the not so lucrative Hawes and the addition of a player who is not ridiculously expensive, like Stephenson.
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