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NBA Trade News: Houston Rockets Nemesis – L.A. Clippers Trade For Lance Stephenson

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Mar 8, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson (1) reacts to a basket in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Charlotte won 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Trade News: Houston Rockets Nemesis L.A. Clippers Trade For Lance Stephenson

Have the Los Angeles Clippers just made themselves stronger via a trade to acquire Lance Stephenson? Or is this just another in a series of moves Doc Rivers has made that will prove to keep the Clippers hopes of winning a championship a dream?

Stephenson comes to the Clippers in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. The move in essence allows both teams to rid themselves of  players who never met initial expectations. But the loss of Barnes who has often been the best defensive wing for L.A. does put pressure on Stephenson once again to return to the defensive player he showcased himself as in Indiana.

It’s not a surprise Rivers is looking to make moves especially considering how the Houston Rockets dispatched of them in the Western Conference Semi Finals. The Clippers entered the series heavy favorites after dispatching of last years championship Spurs and when they took an early 3 games to one lead many pundits began extolling on their chances at winning the Larry O’Brien trophy.

What occurred next felt like it was destined to occur given the history of the clubs and coaches involved:

  • The Rockets were one of the eight teams who had previously come back from a 3-1 deficit, doing so in 1995 to beat the Phoenix Suns as we recently saw documented in the “Clutch City” documentary.
  • Doc Rivers Orlando Magic team was one of the eight teams who surrendered a 3-1 lead to the Detroit Pistons in 2003. With the loss to the Rockets this gives Rivers the distinction of being the first coach to lose a series after leading 3-1 twice.
  • Kevin McHale was also involved in the rare comeback from 3-1 when his Boston Celtics came back in 1981 to beat Philadelphia. This accomplishment makes him the first person to win a series after trailing 3-1 as a coach and as a player.

The trade offers Rivers someone who, at his best showcased the ability to be a solid two-way player with moments of offensive brilliance. Hawes will give Charlotte a potential three-point asset on a team in desperate need of more perimeter shooting.

Clippers, Hornets agree to trade sending Lance Stephenson to LA for Spencer Hawes & Matt Barnes. (via @ESPNSteinLine) pic.twitter.com/WIqkhHe6qZ

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 16, 2015

Now Doc will need to lock down DeAndre Jordan in the off season in an effort to retain their core big 3 of Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Charlotte who just picked up Al Jefferson‘s option will now need to address their free agent situation with Gerald Henderson who also enters free agency with a player option this off season. Henderson is arguably the Hornets best two-way player averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game has been the Hornets best two-way player.

As far as how the trade will affect Houston, while it’s just speculation I’m sure James Harden will be thrilled not to be dealing with the scrappy Barnes for their four regular season games next year.

We won’t know until next season how this trade will affect either team, but if Stephenson does come even close to his Pacer production it may prove to be a steal.

Make Space City Scoop a daily stop to catch up on all things Houston Rockets. This week we’ll continue our post season player assessments and start looking at the upcoming NBA Draft.

Next: Josh Smith Year End Review

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