Lance Stephenson, a player who, to the casual fan, is probably known more prominently as the guy who blew into LeBron James’ ear during a 2014 playoff game than anything he’s accomplished while playing basketball, is reportedly signing a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Minnesota recently lost star guard Zach LaVine for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, and are now in desperate need of more backcourt depth, which is exactly where Stephenson will fit into the equation.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 7, 2017
Stephenson played for the Indiana Pacers for the first four years of his career, where he had his brightest years playing alongside Paul George, averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2013-2014, his final season with the team. The fact that he led the league in triple-doubles that season truly encapsulated the promise he showed as a great all-around player, adding to his rising star.
Since then, his career has taken a sharp U-turn, and he has bounced around a bit. He signed with the Charlotte Hornets before the start of the 2014-2015 season, but suffered consistently poor performances, which were highlighted by his 17% three-point shooting, the worst mark in franchise history (via TheRinger.com). Stephenson quickly fell out of favor in Charlotte, and was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers at the end of the season. He had the same issues in Los Angeles, and was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies midway through the 2015-2016 season.
In 26 games played in Memphis, Stephenson averaged 14.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, in what was his brightest stretch of play since his time in Indiana. However, Memphis decided not to exercise their team option on Stephenson’s contract, as he became a free agent during the summer of 2016.
Most recently, the New Orleans Pelicans signed Stephenson to a veteran’s minimum contract before the start of this season. Stephenson played six games before going down with a groin injury, and he was subsequently waived by the team.
Stephenson has been a free agent from the time he was waived by New Orleans up until now, but it appears that Lance has been given the chance to prove himself in Minnesota.
Whether or not Stephenson will prove his worth, and earn an extension to stay with the team through the rest of the season, remains to be seen. However, if he is able to show the defensive prowess and play-making skills he demonstrated during his peak years in Indiana, he will be a great fit for the up-and-coming Timberwolves squad.
Let’s collectively hope that he really “blows away” Minnesota’s upper management and earns his place with the team for good!
Lance Stephenson has reached an agreement with the Timberwolves. pic.twitter.com/PHLaRe333A
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 7, 2017