The marriage between the Charlotte Hornets and Lance Stephenson has not gone as planned. Before the season, they’d hoped to be playoff contenders, maybe even competing for a top-four seed. But they’re 6-15 and Stephenson is shooting 38.7 percent from the field.
No trade is in the works, but if the Hornets do decide to cut bait with Stephenson, RealGM’s Shams Charania reports that they will have a handful of teams willing to talk:
Lance Stephenson has garnered fresh trade inquiries into the Charlotte Hornets’ front office recently and wouldn’t be opposed to a potential move to the Brooklyn Nets, but hopes to remain part of and succeed in his partnership with the Hornets, league sources told RealGM.
Four to five NBA teams have shown an interest to the Hornets on Stephenson, but no deal is imminent, Stephenson has made clear his desire to help propel a turnaround and both sides believe there’s still time to salvage a productive relationship and run with the franchise, sources told RealGM.
With how bad Stephenson has been this season, it’s tough to gauge the kind of value the Hornets could get for him. He’s obviously a very talented player, as his previous two seasons as a major rotation player on an Eastern Conference Finals team in Indiana show. But he’s a difficult personality who has a tendency to get on the nerves of teammates and opponents alike.
Simply put, the Hornets’ current backcourt is not working. A unit of Stephenson, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t have enough shooting to be effective. Stephenson makes the most sense to move, since Charlotte just signed Kemba Walker to a four-year contract extension and Kidd-Gilchrist is still on a cheap rookie deal for another season.
It seems like the Hornets are intent on making it work with Stephenson, but that could change if things don’t turn around.