Court Vision: Charlotte blows another big lead; Stephenson talks trade rumors

BY foxsports • December 17, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lance Stephenson tells he's happy with Hornets as the team lost its fourth straight 111-106 to the Suns. 

1. Stephenson Aware of Trade Rumors 

When Lance Stephenson signed his three-year, $27-million contract as a free agent this summer, it was just assumed that he was one of the missing pieces to help push Charlotte into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

Of course, we all know what happens when you assume.

The Hornets have started the season worse than anybody could have imagined and are now 6-19 after losing to Phoenix at home Wednesday night. All this losing has prompted the rumors over the last couple of weeks that Charlotte may be looking to trade their once-coveted free agent.

The reports site his poor shooting and lack of chemistry with the team. Stephenson is shooting 38.7 percent from the field and a horrid 15.7 percent from 3-point range. 

As a result, numerous reports even have Indiana, the team the left to join the Hornets, as being a prime location for his trade.

However, Stephenson, 24, said he's glad he's in Charlotte, even with the losing.

"Yeah, I heard it," Stephenson told of the rumors. "I don't read papers or read that stuff. I just try to stay focus. I don't read the newspaper when I'm doing good, and I don't do that when I'm doing bad.

"I'm happy where I'm at. Right now, I just want to win and help my teammates win. I'm here right now and that's all that matters."

When asked if the team might be looking to make roster moves, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said anything is possible.

"Everybody is talking to everybody," he said. "But I'd say there's nothing pending. ...

"I don't think we have chemistry issues. We just don't have the same fight and determination that we had last year."

2. Blowing big leads becoming the norm

There Charlotte (6-19) stood with a 17-point lead and there was a pending sense in the arena that it was just a matter of time before the Suns (13-14) made a comeback and maybe even grabbed the lead.

Well, that's exactly what happened as Phoenix outscored Charlotte 28-19 in the fourth quarter as the Hornets scored on just three of their last 10 possessions. 

Earlier this year, Charlotte blew 23-point leads at Portland and at home to Orlando. This time, the Suns shot 52.4 percent from the field to mount the comeback.

"We're not an offensive juggernaut," Clifford said. "Our problem is not the offense. Our problem right now is that we can't guard."

3. All-Star Game Not Matter of If, But When

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference before Wednesday night's game and the main topic was whether or not Charlotte might host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

Silver made it seem as though it's all but a done deal, though he didn't say when it would occur.

"Personally I'm very excited about coming back here. I don't think there's any question it's going to happen," he said. "Charlotte has a great chance of getting an All-Star game -- at this point the question is just when."

The first and only time the All-Star Game was in Charlotte came in 1991, and was held at the old Charlotte Coliseum. 

Silver said he met with team owner Michael Jordan and team president Fred Whitfield earlier in the afternoon to specifically discuss the All-Star Game.

"We want to award them as early as possible so there would be maximum opportunity to plan," Silver said. "It's a matter of what's precisely the timetable now for the renovations to the building."

18 -- Hornets center Al Jefferson scored 18 points in the first quarter. He scored 10 the rest of the way.

19-6 -- That's what Phoenix outscored the Hornets by in second chance points despite having the same amount of offensive rebounds.

Follow Brett Jensen on Twitter @Brett_Jensen

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