this is a discussion within the Pelicans Community Forum; After bouncing back down the stretch last season, Lance Stephenson waited a long time in free agency before finally finding a home with the New Orleans Pelicans . Shams Charania of The Vertical first reported Stephenson and the Pelicans agreed ...
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|09-09-2016, 08:32 PM||#1|
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Lance Stephenson to Pelicans: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction
After bouncing back down the stretch last season, Lance Stephenson waited a long time in free agency before finally finding a home with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Shams Charania of The Vertical first reported Stephenson and the Pelicans agreed to a deal.
Stephenson's agency, Priority Sports, confirmed the news:
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports did note the Pelicans are in a bind with their roster as far as contracts are concerned:
Stephenson struggled during the first half of the 2015-16 campaign with the Los Angeles Clippers, but the 25-year-old was effective off the bench in 26 games after getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies with averages of 14.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest.
Although the San Antonio Spurs swept Memphis in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, Stephenson played well on the big stage too with 13 points per game and a field-goal percentage of 52.3 percent.
Despite the former Cincinnati standout's solid play, the Grizzlies decided to decline their team option, which allowed Stephenson to become an unrestricted free agent.
Stephenson instantly became one of the most intriguing players on the open market because of the up-and-down nature of his career.
The talented small forward appeared to be one of the NBA's fastest-rising stars during his tenure with the Indiana Pacers. During his last season with Indiana in 2013-14, Stephenson put up 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game for one of the Eastern Conference's top teams.
A change of scenery didn't serve him well, though, as he followed that up with just 8.2 points per game and a 37.6 percent conversion rate from the field with the Charlotte Hornets in 2014-15.
Stephenson finally started to recapture some of the magic he displayed in Indiana during his time with the Grizzlies, and the Pelicansbanked on the notion that he is back to his old self.
There is no question that Stephenson was a major disappointment in Charlotte and L.A., but when he is on his game, he is a stat-sheet stuffer who makes a huge impact as a complementary player.
While the Grizzlies didn't have Stephenson for long, he was an important player for them when most of their top contributors were out of the lineup because of injury.
Predicting how he would have meshed with a complete and healthy Grizzlies roster would have been a guessing game for the front office, and it came to the conclusion that the uncertainty wasn't worth an investment of more than $9 million.
Signing Stephenson is undoubtedly a roll of the dice in comparison to some of the safer free agents such as Kevin Durant or Al Horford, but if Stephenson manages to play to his upside like he did previously in Indiana and Memphis, then he could prove to be a steal for the Pels.
New Orleans struggled mightily last season, and injuries were a big reason for that. There is undoubtedly plenty of talent on the roster with big man Anthony Davis leading the way, but remaining healthy will be key in 2016-17.
Bringing in Stephenson could be a big help since he is capable of either starting or coming off the bench, and he can play multiple positions, which will come in handy if injuries strike once again.
Stephenson is the type of do-everything player teams need to make the playoffs and do damage once they're there, and his signing gives New Orleans hope for a postseason return after a big regression last season.
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