The Minnesota Timberwolves are a little thin on wing depth right now, so they’re taking a flier on the enigma that is Lance Stephenson.
Prior to suffering a torn ACL over the weekend, Zach LaVine was having a breakout season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 18.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and three assists per game over 47 games. The third-year guard will miss the rest of the season, and as the Timberwolves cling to hopes of a playoff spot, their depth will be tested.
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The Timberwolves haven’t wasted much time in adding some wing depth, though. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Minnesota is set to sign Lance Stephenson to a 10-day contract.
Stephenson spent six games with the New Orleans Pelicans early this season, averaging 9.7 points, 4.8 assists and three rebounds per contest. But he was waived after undergoing groin surgery in November, and Stephenson only recently resurfaced as part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ group workout last week. The Cavaliers didn’t sign him, as they continue a LeBron James-driven search for a “play maker.”
Stephenson looked like a rising star not all that long ago, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while contributing 4.8 Defensive Wins Shares with the Indiana Pacers in 2013-14. But he signed with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2014 offseason, was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after just one season and then went to the Memphis Grizzlies on a deadline deal last year.
Stephenson is still, somehow, only 26 years old. A 10-day flier is perfectly reasonable for the Timberwolves as they seek extra depth, as long as Shabazz Muhammad’s playing time is not dramatically affected. Keeping Stephenson for the rest of the season is also surely an option for Minnesota, as long as he proves to be fully healthy and is consistently productive in his role.