Tag: Matt Barnes

Houston Rockets v Charlotte Hornets

Gerald Henderson opts in with Hornets


The Hornets narrow window to carve out more cap room than the mid-level exception is essentially gone – at least without another trade.

Al Jefferson opting in was the major factor, but the other key domino just fell.

Gerald Henderson is opting into the final season of his contract, which pays $6 million next year.


The Hornets will have the mid-level exception, the No. 9 pick and the ability to trade players who look less attractive after a down year. Otherwise, they’ll mostly bring back a roster that went 33-49 last season.

Maybe Spencer Hawes helps, but I would have counted on more from Matt Barnes – whom Charlotte will reportedly move – in the haul for Lance Stephenson. Better health would also help, but only so much.

The Hornets will probably have to rely significantly on addition by subtraction – which might not be such a bad bet.

Report: Doc Rivers backed out of deal to trade for Lance Stephenson last season

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets

The Clippers agreed to a trade with the Hornets that will have Lance Stephenson in place on the roster to start the 2015-16 season.

But they could have had him much sooner than that.

L.A. reportedly had a similar deal in place with Charlotte last season, but Doc Rivers ultimately decided to stand pat.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN.com:

Does Doc Rivers the Clippers’ president of basketball operations believe that Doc Rivers the Clippers’ coach can handle Lance Stephenson?

That is presumably one of the many questions Rivers was forced to ask himself as he sat in his office on Monday mulling a trade that was on his table and essentially up to him to accept or veto. The Charlotte Hornets had already agreed to ship Stephenson to Los Angeles in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. It was up to Rivers, both the president and coach, to decide if it was worth it.

Charlotte tried to pull off a similar trade with the Clippers last season, sources say, before Rivers backed out.

It’s easy to understand why the Clippers would hold off on making a move like this in the middle of the season.

Stephenson can be a tough fit from a personality standpoint, and reportedly clashed with his teammates in Charlotte. It’s one of the reasons the Hornets looked to move him midway through his first season with the team, after they signed him to a three-year deal as a free agent the previous summer.

L.A. viewed itself as a championship-caliber squad, and it wasn’t going to make a risky move that could potentially derail its season. Now, however, it’s become clear that the Clippers need to upgrade their roster, so making the move in advance of next year’s campaign makes a lot more sense.

If it ends up not working out, it’s still a good deal for Los Angeles from a salary cap perspective. Hawes fell out of the rotation entirely, and would have been on the books for another three seasons. Stephenson’s deal, however, is only guaranteed for next year, with the team holding the option for the season after that.

Report: Hornets unlikely to keep newly-acquired Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes

Now that the Hornets unloaded Lance Stephenson in a Monday evening trade with the Clippers, they have some decisions to make. One of the pieces they acquired in the deal was veteran forward Matt Barnes, who has one year and $3.5 million left on his contract. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Charlotte’s front office is undecided as to whether they’ll keep him for the final year of his deal or waive him to create more flexibility.


Barnes is a solid defender capable of knocking down open threes, but at 35 years old, he doesn’t really fit with the Hornets’ timeline. If the Hornets waive him, they’ll probably wait until after the draft to see if they can use him as salary filler in a potential trade. There are a lot of teams that could use him if he hits the open market.

Report: Clippers and Hornets agree in principle to Lance Stephenson trade

Lance Stephenson

Earlier on Monday, multiple reports indicated that the Hornets and Clippers were discussing a trade that would send talented but erratic swingman Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the teams have agreed to the deal and it’s on track to get done tonight.

By all indications, there are no picks involved in the trade, just an agreement to swap one bad contract for another. This is a swing for the fences for the Clippers — if Stephenson pans out, he gives them a dynamic wing defender.

Report: Clippers and Hornets discussing Lance Stephenson trade

Lance Stephenson

At the trade deadline, the Hornets couldn’t give Lance Stephenson away. Their marquee signing of last offseason was a complete disaster when taken away from Indiana and Larry Bird, and they seemed to be stuck with the remaining year and $9 million in guaranteed money on his contract. Now, they might finally have a taker in the Clippers.

From Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

In a high-risk, high-reward move, the Los Angeles Clippers are discussing a deal with theCharlotte Hornets to acquire guard Lance Stephenson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Clippers would send forwards Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes to the Hornets, sources said. Talks have been ongoing for several days, but the proposed deal is yet to be considered imminent.

The appeal in this trade for the Clippers is obvious. Hawes signed a four-year, $23 million contract last summer, killing the Clippers’ flexibility and barely cracking the rotation. They would love to get out of that long-term money. Bringing on Stephenson is an obvious risk. The Hornets hoped they would get the version of “Born Ready” that became an important wing defender and playmaker for the Pacers in the 2013 and 2014 playoffs, but his production fell off a cliff this year in Charlotte.

He would be a reclamation project for Doc Rivers, who would be banking on the idea that his reputation and championship pedigree will be enough to get the best out of Stephenson on the court while mitigating the off-the-court headaches that come with him. Part of the reason Stephenson was so successful in Indiana was the presence of Bird, and even the Pacers balked at the idea of giving him a long-term deal. But if the Clippers re-sign DeAndre Jordan to the five-year, $100-plus million contract he’s expected to command in free agency, they won’t have much room, if any, to add depth. If they can shed Hawes’ long-term money to take a one-year flier on Stephenson, whose 2016-17 salary is a team option, it’s worth a look.

For the Hornets, getting rid of Stephenson at all costs seems to be the objective here. Taking back Hawes isn’t deal, but he might be more productive in a different environment, and his salary isn’t completely untradeable if it doesn’t work out.