Clippers need Lance Stephenson rebirth
The Clippers completed a trade for Hornets guard Lance Stephenson on Monday evening, parting ways with Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes in the process. With the deal, the Clips will be taking on a perennial malcontent in Stephenson, someone who has played his way out of multiple cities before his 25th birthday. Still, it may have been something the Clips had to do, their only way to bring in actual depth.
Over at Bleacher Report, Fred Katz writes about that exact paradox:
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Stephenson had a dreadful season in Charlotte last year, but if he can recover to what he was with the Pacers a couple of years ago, the Clippers could end up pretty darn happy with the deal.
(H/t to Fred Katz at Bleacher Report.)
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Enter Stephenson, an abrasive personality whose character concerns forced the Hornets to shop him almost immediately upon signing him to a three-year deal last summer. With the pact, the Hornets actually take on money (three more years of Spencer Hawes, who's coming off a dreadful season in L.A.) and get older (Hawes is 27, Matt Barnes is 35).
It seems nonsensical, but it shows exactly how toxic Stephenson was during his short time playing for the Hornets.
The basketball side of the deal makes too much sense for L.A. The Clips have a dire need for athleticism on the wing, and they gained some here.
L.A. needed a defender who can guard explosive 2s and 3s. Stephenson can and will.
It needs a primary ball-handler to run the reserve unit. And no, Austin Rivers, who is a free agent this offseason, isn't fit for that role just because he is ball-dominant. The Clips need a facilitator to play that part, something even Austin's dad, Doc, doesn't think he is, considering L.A. was still cycling in backup point guards after acquiring Rivers midseason.