Tag: Spencer Hawes

Lance Stephenson

Hornets’ coach says Lance Stephenson much better fit in Clippers offense


Lance Stephenson’s season in Charlotte was a disaster. There’s no other good word for it (at least that we can publish here). He shot just 37.6 percent overall and 17 percent from three (yet he took more threes as a percentage of his shots than he had in his career), and he never fit in with the Hornets offense. He spent more and more time riding the bench as the season wore on.

The Clippers acquired Stephenson in a trade (for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes), hoping that a change of scenery — plus the leadership of Chris Paul and Doc Rivers — could find the Indiana version of Stephenson. The one that was a difference maker on both ends of the court.

Steve Clifford, the Hornets coach, told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated Stephenson will fit in much better with what the Clippers run than what the Hornets did.

And that’s where I think that playing with the Clippers, who have more perimeter shooting than we do, will help him. I mean, his game is pick-and-roll. He can drive it, and he can make all the passes, he can hit the screener, whether the screener is rolling or flaring. And he can hit all of the perimeter options, and he has great size and a great knack for making the right decision. And with us, again, because we weren’t able to find ways where he was on the floor with a lot of perimeter shooting, he didn’t always have the room he was accustomed to to turn the corner, get in the paint and get the ball going to the basket. And if you look at it statistically, the biggest difference in his game really was the number of layups he was able to attempt here versus the year before in Indiana, and those turned into pull-up jumpers, which is not his strength.

Clifford is right, the last two years he was in Indiana 37 percent of Stephenson’s shots came at the rim, but that fell to 29 percent in Charlotte. Teams packed the paint against the Hornets, who had the worst three-point shooting percentage in the league. That said, with the Clippers the ball is usually in the hands of Chris Paul or Jamal Crawford, can Stephenson adjust to being off the ball for long stretches?

The larger questions and concerns with Stephenson are in the mental aspects of the game — two teams in a row were happy to move Stephenson and get him out of their locker rooms. The Clipper locker room is unlike most any other in the league, where players’ children have the run of the locker room after games, and the atmosphere can be pretty light. But it’s also a team with legitimate title aspirations. Rivers and Paul treat players like adults and expect them to respond accordingly, to be mature and professional. Can Stephenson do that?

If so, and if what Clifford said about Stephenson on the court pans out, this could be a good move for Los Angeles.

Report: Clippers are “exploring” going after Paul Pierce. If he opts out.

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers

The Clippers feel they need some roster upgrades — at the three and in terms of depth — if they are going to take the final step to compete for an NBA title with the core of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan. (They need to keep Jordan this summer, too.)

Team president Doc Rivers added Lance Stephenson via trade, but it’s bad news if Stephenson is starting. The Clips want to land another starting three this summer.

Like maybe Paul Pierce? That long-standing rumor still has legs, as reported most recently by Arash Markazi of ESPN.

One of the options the Clippers are exploring, according to sources, is Paul Pierce, who could sign a mini-midlevel exception of $3.37 million for up to three years if he declines his $5.5 million player option with Washington. Players don’t normally turn down money but it’s essentially a $1 million difference this season for Pierce, 37, to return home and be reunited with Rivers, who was his coach in Boston for nine seasons, including the 2007-08 championship.

The Clippers are also exploring trade options for Jamal Crawford, according to sources, and one possibility is trading Crawford and C.J. Wilcox, the team’s 2014 first round pick, to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler. The Clippers inquired about Chandler last season but nothing materialized.

Denver certainly is trying to shake up its roster and Chandler is a name that has been rumored to be on the move.

But the Pierce rumor has had long legs. He reportedly wanted to come to Los Angeles last summer, but Rivers used his full mid-level exception on Spencer Hawes — who was just shipped out in the Stephenson deal. Will Doc Rivers get a do-over on last summer’s mistake?

Pierce may choose not to leave Washington — he liked the young team, and in the East it is an easier path to the Finals than in the deep West.

But if he bolts, he may head back to his home in L.A., for one more run at a ring with his favorite coach.

Hornets GM on draft day trades around league: Expect a “decent amount of movement”


It’s not just the Knicks considering moving the No. 4 pick, or Denver looking to move Ty Lawson for a pick (and you can get Kenneth Faried too, if you want).

There’s a sense around the league that when on NBA Draft night in one week (June 25), there could be a lot of trades and player movement taking place. We’ve heard that before — both before the draft and the trade deadline — only to have the status quo reign, but the sense is there will be movement this time.

It’s not just me hearing this around the league, here is what Charlotte Hornets GM Rich Cho said at a press conference Thursday (thanks to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer).

Teams are talking right now, but it is mostly a feeling out process at this point.

Cho has already been busy, sending Lance Stephenson to the Clippers for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. Barnes is expected to walk as a free agent, but the Hornets are looking to add shooting this summer and Hawes should be able to provide that (despite his down season in Los Angeles).

This year’s draft night could be very interesting. A lot of it could start with Latvian big man KristapsPorzingis, who a number of scouts and some GMs are very high on. If he falls past the Sixers with the No. 3pick and the Knicks are willing to move their No. 4 pick… you get the idea. But no matter how that plays out (lots of buzz Sixers GM Hinkie likes Porzingis), expect trades and some interesting moves on draft night.

Gerald Henderson opts in with Hornets

Houston Rockets v Charlotte 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.