The Charlotte Hornets currently have a 4-14 record this season. As a result, the team is considering some radical changes to improve that record.
One of those changes might involve the trading of Lance Stephenson. Although the Hornets once saw him as an essential part of their offense, Zac Lowe of Grantland wrote that the team may be singling Stephenson out as a scapegoat, of which he may be partly to blame.
"His body language has been horrible, and that degrades morale," Lowe wrote. "He pouts when he doesn't get the ball on the weak side, flapping his wings and looking skyward as if his teammates have wronged him. He steals rebounds, and he hot dogs with the ball at times."
However, Lowe cautioned that the blame for Charlotte's lackluster performance on the court shouldn't be entirely blamed on Stephenson. After all, the Hornets did sign him with a three-year, $27 million contract after he played four seasons with the Indiana Pacers.
"He hasn't made a dent in Charlotte's shooting issues, but he's an upgrade over basically any alternative available to [Hornets coach] Steve Clifford," Lowe wrote.
Lowe admitted that Charlotte took a big risk in putting Stephenson on their roster. Even though it may not work in the end, there may be time for the Hornets to get the most out of the 24-year-old and his talents.
"That is the kind of bet a small-market team should make," Lowe said. "It hasn't worked, but the process was sound, and there is still a ton of time for things to turn around."
Lowe added that the Hornets are "in trouble" and will "scour the trade market" while trying to maintain a cohesive team.
According to Chris Roling of Bleacher Report, Stephenson has averaged, in 18 games, 9.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists on 37 percent shooting with an 18 percent conversation rate from long range. These unimpressive numbers have Clifford wondering about the "star" quality of Stephenson.
"To be fair, and I've said this to him, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is he came here and people proclaimed him this next superstar," Clifford said to reporters. "He's not a star; he's a guy who has the talent to be a star. To be a star in this league you've got to do this over years."
The teams that may be interested in a potential Stephenson trade, according to Damon Salvadore of Latin Post, include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls. Salvadore thinks a Stephenson trade would benefit the Lakers.
"Adding Stephenson to the roster could be good for the Lakers," Salvadore said. "The Lakers have made a lot of huge financial investments lately, like Nash, Bryant and Lin. Stephenson isn't a costly player, and he won't be a long-term investment if things don't work out."
Another place where Stephenson could be a good fit is Chicago, according to Salvadore.
"The Bulls are good team who routinely make the playoffs (last six consecutive seasons), but could use a physical player like Stephenson," Salvadore wrote. "Is Stephenson going to guide the Bulls to a championship? No, but he can provide a lot of valuable minutes for the Bulls, even off the bench."
As for the Clippers, Salvadore argues that adding Stephenson would help that team a lot with mid-range shots and defense. Also, he would be working alongside Blake Griffin and Chris Paul III, who have both dominated the passing and dunking game.
Whatever the Hornets decide to do with Stephenson, Lowe cautions that the team has to plan his trade accordingly.
"The Hornets have to be careful here," Lowe wrote. "They cannot trade themselves into anything like contendership, and they cannot afford to cough up a valuable future asset to chase the no. 7 spot - not even within a conference in which the presumed top two seeds have played uneven ball."