Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rumor: Charlotte may be interested in trading Lance Stephenson for Jeff Green

Photo: Streeter Lecka (SI/Getty Images)
The Charlotte Hornets may be looking to deal guard Lance Stephenson.

The Hornets signed Stephenson as a free agent this past summer hoping to add a scorer at the wing who could also knock down three point shots. Grantland's Zach Lowe, is reporting that Jeff Green is someone who they may be interested in trading for.

Stephenson has been terrible. So far this season, Lance is averaging 9.6 points per game, shooting 36.7 percent from the floor and 18.4 percent from behind the three point arch. The former Pacer is just not fitting into Charlotte's system. There has also been speculation that he is poisoning their locker room.

Green, who is arguably having the best start of his career, is the type of player the Hornets could use in their offense. He's averaging a career best 17.6 points per game and has an expiring contract, attractive for a team that is trying to make another playoff appearance and save salary cap space. Green can also knock down threes.

Charlotte had hopes of becoming one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference when they signed Stephenson during the off season. Many believed Kemba Walker alongside Stephenson would become one of the great back courts in the league but instead it has been a disaster. After a 4-14 start, the Hornets are really hoping to turn their season around.

In July, during the first week of free agency, there were reports that the Celtics were interested in signing Stephenson. But when Charlotte inked him to a three-year contract, Avery Bradley agreed to a new deal with the Celtics shortly after.

If the Celtics were to make a deal for Stephenson, that would make for a very crowded back court. There would probably have to be other players involved, but is another shooting guard really something the Celtics need right now?

If Danny Ainge were to make such a move, where would that leave Bradley? For a player making $9 million, Stephenson should be in the starting lineup. At 6'5, Stephenson isn't someone you could stretch out to the 3. The Celtics would be better off starting Evan Turner at small forward and have Bradley come off the bench. But how would that affect Avery? And would Stephenson be a hazard to the locker room?

There are a lot of questions and concerns that come along with a player like Stephenson.

However, there is some upside in trading for the four-year pro. Stephenson, 24, is still growing as a player and could blossom into an all-star caliber player. He averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists, shooting nearly 50 percent last season. He's also a player who reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and plays good one-on-one defense while averaging nearly 8 rebounds per game. Maybe Charlotte's offense just wasn't the right fit for him.

If the Celtics looked into signing Stephenson this past summer, then this may be a trade Danny Ainge will explore. More importantly, if the Celtics did seriously consider signing Stephenson, does that mean Rajon Rondo is a fan?

Last summer, Ainge said that Rondo is someone who he has discussions with over particular players in the league who he's considering signing/trading for. Celtics could trade for Lance, and if he were to pan out into a good player in Boston, they could then also sign a big free agent next summer, setting them up nicely for the 2015-16 season.

If Stephenson is someone that will help convince Rondo to sign with the Celtics next summer, Ainge could seriously consider talking to Charlotte.

Because of his new contract, the Hornets cannot trade Stephenson until December 15.

Josue Pavon

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