After a highly disappointing 6-17 start to the season, the Charlotte Hornets are already looking into trading Lance Stephenson, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
Stephenson signed a three-year, $US27-million contract with the Hornets in the offseason after turning down the Indiana Pacers’ offer.
Owner Michael Jordan and the Hornets believed Stephenson would give them a strong offensive and defensive presence on the wing to complement center Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker. Instead, Stephenson has struggled shooting the ball, and scouts have suggested he looks out of shape.
According to Stein, the Hornets are confident they could move Stephenson because of his team-friendly contract:
One factor that could ultimately lead to a deal, despite Stephenson’s ragged and discouraging start, is the fact that the three-year, $US27 million deal he received over the summer from Charlotte owner Michael Jordan is only guaranteed through next season. The third year of the deal is not guaranteed, which theoretically enhances Charlotte’s chances of finding another team willing to gamble on the mercurial swingman.
Sources say that the Hornets are not in a move-him-at-all-costs mode with Stephenson but made it clear that Charlotte is ready now to abandon the experiment if a palatable deal presents itself.
Stephenson led the NBA in triple-doubles last season with the Pacers, and posted impressive averages of 13 points, 49% shooting, seven rebounds, and four assists per game. This year, his rebounding and assist numbers are still high (seven and five per game, respectively), but he’s averaging only 10 points per game on 39% shooting and 16.7% from three-point range.
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has sat Stephenson during the fourth quarter multiple times this year because of the Hornets’ lack of spacing and ball movement with him in the game.
Clifford suggested Stephenson may be struggling because people expected him to be a superstar in Charlotte when he’s not that type of player. Though he’s clearly not fairing well as a third-wheel to Jefferson and Walker, he could end up being a great piece on another talented team, as he was with Indiana.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.