Lance Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets this summer, but the franchise is reportedly already determined to move on from the 24-year-old shooting guard. Stephenson will become eligible to be traded on Monday and Charlotte is actively trying to trade him, according to multiple reports.
The Hornets, then known as the Charlotte Bobcats, were one of the feel-good stories of last season by making the playoffs two years removed from a seven-win season. Stephenson was the franchise's marquee offseason acquisition and was supposed to push Charlotte up the Eastern Conference standings. Just 23 games into the season, it's already evident it isn't working out.
Charlotte is No. 12 in the Eastern Conference at the moment at 6-17. Stephenson is averaging 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and five assists per game while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from three-point range. It's a noticeable drop in production from last season when Stephenson became one of the league's breakout players with the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers, Nets and Clippers have all been floated as possible destinations for Stephenson. Indiana and Charlotte have had preliminary conversations about reuniting Stephenson with coach Frank Vogel and executive Larry Bird with the Pacers, but the Hornets have been reluctant to include a first-round pick with Stephenson to accelerate trade talks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Clippers and Nets have been in contact with the Hornets as well about Stephenson, but have yet to show serious interest, according to Wojnarowski. Charlotte may be willing to take Brook Lopez back in a deal, which is noteworthy because the Nets reportedly are looking to make moves involving core players like Lopez.