Now that Rajon Rondo has been traded, the next major domino to fall before the February trade deadline will likely be Lance Stephenson. The Hornets have shopped him over the past month after a disappointing start to the season, but have been unable to find an offer that appeals to them. Now, a new report suggests that both the Hornets and Stephenson are willing to give the partnership another shot.
From RealGM’s Shams Charania:
As RealGM first reported on Dec. 11, Stephenson has received trade inquiries from multiple NBA teams, but the 24-year-old has hoped to remain part of the Hornets. Behind Brian Shaw’s bond with Stephenson, the Denver Nuggets emerged as an interested suitor for him this season, league sources told RealGM.
Stephenson has gotten a level of assurance from the Hornets about a continued partnership, and he’s reaffirmed teammates of his commitment, sources said.
Stephenson has missed the Hornets’ last two games with a pelvic sprain, and the Hornets have won both of those games. It will be interesting to see what happens when he comes back, whether that affects their chemistry further or if he will fit in better than he did to start the season.
One has to wonder how much of this new commitment to each other is from a genuine change of heart and how much of it is due to nobody wanting to trade anything of value for him. Stephenson’s old team, the Pacers, has been linked to him since the trade rumors first surfaced, but they didn’t get far. The new report suggests the Nuggets are a team that could have interest in Stephenson, but that roster is such a mess as it is that adding a personality as explosive as Stephenson seems ill-advised.
The Hornets will likely try to shop him again before the deadline. What they’ll get in return remains to be seen.