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Stein: Clippers, Hornets Agree to Stephenson Deal

According to Marc Stein, the Clippers and Hornets have agreed to a trade centered around Lance Stephenson.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A potential trade for Lance Stephenson was rumored earlier in the day, and now Marc Stein of ESPN has reported that the Clippers and Hornets have agreed in principle to the deal.  Earlier reports had Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes going to Charlotte in return, but we will have to wait and see exactly what the final details of the trade are.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hearing that Clippers and Hornets have agreed in principle on a Lance Stephenson trade and on course to proceed with trade call tonight</p>&mdash; Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) <a href="">June 16, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Stephenson, who will turn 25 in September before the start of the season, has a reputation as a strong defender from his days with the Indiana Pacers, but his defensive output, as well as offensive efficiency, plummeted last season with the Charlotte Hornets.  He has two years remaining on his contract: $9,000,000 for next season, and a team option for $9,400,000 the season after.  In the best-case scenario, Stephenson is capable of All-Star level performances and lifting the team to a whole new level.  In the worst-case scenario, the Clippers lose the last season of Matt Barnes' contract and get out from Hawes' salary going into the cap raise next summer.

Either way, the trade has a low cost, but there's no denying that Stephenson is a high-risk, volatile player who could cause chemistry and fit issues even if he plays better than he did last season.  Doc and Chris Paul had best get to wrangling the 6'5" wing sooner rather than later to maximize their chances at getting All-Star Lance instead of fringe-NBA player Lance.