Lance Stephenson finally has a new destination in the NBA. The Vertical is reporting that the mercurial forward has agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.
“The Eighth Grader” was selected in the second round by Indiana Pacers in 2010. He was the 40th pick after being a highly sought after high school prospect. After one season as a Cincinnati Bearcat in college, he declared for the draft.
Character concerns that still follow him today caused many teams to pass on him in the first round. But, in his third season with Naptown’s club, he broke through as a dynamite guard compliment to Paul George.
The 26-year-old was an absolute utility player nightmare for Indy’s attack. As a result, Larry Bird offered the young swingman a five-year deal worth $44 million in 2014. The Brooklyn native declined the legend’s proposed deal because he wanted more money.
Stephenson ended up signing in Charlotte for three-years and $9 million. That is a large step down from Larry Legend’s generous offer. That lone season with the Hornets was an unmitigated disaster for the All-Star hopeful.
He shot 17 percent from deep and butted heads with Steve Clifford about his role on the team. After being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, he was traded to Memphis by mid-season for a rental of Jeff Green.
In New Orleans, a roster of guaranteed contracts is going to make it far from a sure thing that the journeyman forward will find a place for the season. If the squad takes a liking to him, they can waive a player to make room for the polarizing wing player.
As always, the question with the former Pacer playmaker is: Do the benefits outweigh the other character concerns that you will have to deal with if you bring him aboard? We will find out this season.