Potential Trade Scenarios To Get Lance Stephenson Out Of Charlotte


As much as Hornets fans hate to say it, the Lance Stephenson project has not worked out.

Like, at all.

While he is not the sole reason that he has struggled this season (new system, massive expectations, etc.), he is part of the problem that has made Charlotte as bad as they are.

And, of course, that has led to rumors of trade, with ESPN, CBS, Bleacher Report, and just about everyone else reporting on their recent activity on the phone lines. Twitter has also buzzed with rumors.

Now that a Stephenson trade seems inevitable, Lets take a look at some possible deals that Charlotte could work out around the league.

Phoenix Panics, Charlotte Crowds


Charlotte Hornets Receive: Goran Dragic, Gerald Green

Phoenix Suns Receive: Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson

The Suns are not looking nearly as good as they did last season, and it may be time to change things up since their top three scorers are point guards (Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas) and their record shows that they may not be contenders in the West this season.

The Suns conceded and signed Bledsoe to a 5 year, $70 million deal this offseason, so trading him off already seems like a bad move. Isaiah Thomas has also looked great in a Suns uniform and would look better starting for them, with Bledsoe at the two guard. They also have an explosive yet underused Gerald Green waiting on the wings, and he is valuable trade bait for the conservative Suns.

Inserting an explosive yet unpredictable Lance Stephenson in as either starting shooting guard, small forward, or even as sixth man would inject some life into this dull offense, as no player averages over 16.5 points a game. Getting Gerald Henderson is another plus, as he adds depth to the wing, capable of playing the two or three.

The Hornets get a new shooting guard who is and always has been extremely efficient. Dragic gives this offense a whole new look, allowing Kemba Walker to play off the ball a lot more and utilize his spot up shooting ability. Infusing the starting lineup to look like Walker, Dragic, Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller, and Jefferson looks a lot stronger and smoother than the current version.

Also, Gerald Green would instantly be the best player of the Charlotte bench who would make a huge impact in Steve Clifford’s offense. So thats a plus.

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Detroit Sheds Contract, Charlotte Gambles


Charlotte Hornets Receive: Josh Smith, D.J. Augustin

Detroit Pistons Receive: Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams

Detroit has been desperate to get rid of Josh Smith’s mammoth contract ever since they panicked and signed him in the 2013 offseason.

Smith remains a strong weapon on both ends of the floor, and it is a purely systematic problem in Detroit as to why he isn’t flourishing like his good ole days in Atlanta.

Cue Charlotte.

With a gaping hole at the power forward position, the Hornets would be more than willing to pull the trigger on this deal, and they get back an old Charlotte favorite in D.J. Augustin to play the backup point guard position. There is no doubt that Josh Smith would put up massive numbers in Charlotte. Him and Al Jefferson banging down low would cause a lot of problems for fellow Eastern conference opponents. Hopefully it wouldn’t mess with the system too much, but then again, it isn’t working well at the moment anyway.

Detroit gets the best of both worlds with this deal, bringing in a young, fast shooting guard to start, getting a solid bench power forward in Marvin Williams who can stretch the floor for Stan Van Gundy and Andre Drummond, and ridding themselves of Smith’s contract.

I don’t know who says no to this deal.

Charlotte Goes All in, Minnesota Cashes Out


Charlotte Hornets Receive: Kevin Martin, Thaddeus Young, Mo Williams

Minnesota Timberwolves Receives: Lance Stephenson, Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Top 8 protected 2015 first round pick

This deal is the kind of deal where Michael Jordan goes downstairs to Rich Cho and Steve Clifford and says “make the playoffs, or your fired.”

So, this happens.

The Hornets call Minnesota’s front office, inform them how useless their veterans are on a stinking team like the T-Wolves are (the T-Wolves will mention how they are a near equal team record wise but forget that), and offer them the likes of Lance Stephenson and a first rounder along with some fillers to take them off their hands.

If anything, the T-Wolves net a first rounder this year and a promising and still developing guard. They also get a solid wing shooter to come off the bench and give Anthony Bennett a shot at playing. And hey, who doesn’t want Bismack Biyombo on their team nowadays?

Lets be real. The Hornets need this trade. Sure, giving up a first rounder sucks, but look.

It solves four huge problems at once.

1. Get Stephenson out of the system, because, of course since the Hornets are losing, it is the newcomer’s fault.

2. Three point shooting. Gary Neal and Kemba can jack up ill-advised shots all they want, but the Hornets are yet to have a deadeye shooter since the glory days of Matt Carroll. Kevin Martin, who has been linked to Charlotte before, solves that problem, kind of. He makes a nice sixth man, as we have seen throughout his career.

3. Backup point guard. Brian Roberts has shown bright flashes this year, but the consistency and noteworthy production that Mo Williams has provided throughout his career and current season with the T-Wolves is something that has to draw the attention of Rich Cho and the Hornets staff.

4. Perhaps the most important of all, a real stretch four. Thaddeus Young could be a savior for the Hornets, as his ability to run the floor and shoot from deep make offensive possibilities even more infinite for Al Jefferson. He would be the best power forward in Charlotte basketball in a long time (sorry Boris Diaw, still love you you tubby chub) and could singlehandedly turn this season around.

I don’t want to make any ridiculous predictions, but if this trade went through, I’d say I am 97.654% sure that the Hornets would make the playoffs.


Lob City Gets Flashier, Hornets Get Scorer


Charlotte Hornets Receive: Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Lance Stephenson

I know some guys have a thing for coming off the bench and destroying defenses, but what if Charlotte let Jamal Crawford do that from the start of the game?

Because that is what would happen if this trade went through, and it would be beautiful. Crawford has been in the corner of Charlotte’s eyes forever now, and acquiring him as well as veteran Matt Barnes would do wonders for this offense. I’m talking around 20 PPG for Crawford in a starting role.

LA has had trade rumblings for Jamal Crawford before, and this may be the time to get the most out of the aging veteran in the trade market. The Clippers would love a good ball handler and transition weapon like Stephenson to run alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

They also have the wiggle room for if he completely busts for them. Repackaged gifts can still be awesome. Right?


Brooklyn and Charlotte Swap Contracts


Charlotte Hornets Receive: Joe Johnson

Brooklyn Nets: Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, 2016 second round pick

The most heavily rumored and evidenced deal is this one.

Charlotte takes on the $48 million that Brooklyn owes the clutch scorer, Joe Johnson, in exchange for Lance and some buddies.

The Nets do this because they need to. They need to get money off the books ASAP and they wouldn’t mind bringing back real talent when they do it. That is where Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson becomes so attractive. A hometown favorite and a still young player with potential in the league make him just what the Nets want.

Williams is just a filler contract who can shoot threes. Biyombo is a young prospect that is yet to find a role in this league. Neither really help the mess in Brooklyn, but they don’t hurt. The draft pick is important here too.

The Hornets finally get a go-to scorer who isn’t a big man named Al Jefferson. Joe Johnson will make the offense very different. It is too early to speculate that it would be better, but it probably would be, considering the inefficiency of the system this year.

Johnson is also perhaps the most clutch player in the league, so having someone to turn to in late game situations (of which the Hornets find themselves in quite often) would be a major plus.

The contracts aren’t ideal for either side, but it is a move that makes a lot of sense financially and for team chemistry.

Which deal, if any, is most plausible? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.