Lance Stephenson has an NBA job. The mercurial free agent shooting guard has agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania and other reports.
Stephenson, who split time with the Clippers and Grizzlies last year, appeared destined to ply his trade elsewhere after receiving little free agent interest. But the Pelicans, who are in need of help in their backcourt, have elected to sign him after bringing him in for a workout last week.
Stephenson has fallen far since a breakout 2013-14 season with the Indiana Pacers. He rejected a five-year contract offer as an unrestricted free agent that summer to sign with the Hornets, but he flopped in his only season there. The Clippers acquired him in a trade prior to last season, but he failed to fit in there and was shipped to the Grizzlies at the trade deadline. He averaged more than 14 points per game for an injury-riddled Memphis team down the stretch, but only the Pelicans were willing to offer him another contract and only in September.
While Stephenson is still young and has shown flashes of being the player he once was in Indiana, there are reasons he received such little interest as a free agent. Besides his many character concerns, he needs the ball in his hands and is a poor shooter, making it difficult to play him with other ball-handlers.
Yet the Pelicans are taking a shot because they are in desperate need of backcourt help. Jrue Holiday, a former All-Star and the team's starting point guard, is taking an indefinite leave of absence to care for his wife, former U.S. soccer star Lauren Holiday, while she is recovering from a brain tumor. The status of Tyreke Evans, who took on more ball-handling responsibility when Holiday was injured two years ago, is in doubt due to his slow recovery from knee surgery.