Clippers get player with an ‘edge’ with Lance Stephenson

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Clippers on Monday sent small forward Matt Barnes and forward/center Spencer Hawes to the Charlotte Hornets for the 6-foot-5 Stephenson. Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, said he had considered acquiring Stephenson before now.“One of the reasons that I’ve stated that we’ve been looking at Lance longer than just this summer is because of the dual roles he can play,” Rivers said. “I think he has the ability defensively to play three positions — the point, the 2 and the 3.“Offensively, I think with his ballhandling ability, his ability to play in the open court and his power, I think it fits our team very well.” Stephenson, who could start or come off the bench, will be in the second year of a three-year contract he signed with Charlotte before the 2014-15 season. The third year of the deal is a team option.• Photos: Stephenson introductory press conference PLAYA VISTA >> The Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday introduced their newest addition to the team, wing Lance Stephenson, and he immediately demonstrated that with him comes a certain attitude.That was evident when he was asked about growing up in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, N.Y.“Playing on the playgrounds when I was younger, I mean, you have to be tough to get on the floor,” Stephenson said at a news conference at the Clippers’ training facility. “You can’t just be a punk and play basketball in my neighborhood. So you had to have that edge, that confidence when you’re on the floor, that you’re ready to play. That’s where I got my edge from.”• Blog: Five things to know about Lance Stephensoncenter_img Stephenson played the first four seasons of his career with the Indiana Pacers. He averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 2013-14, his final season with Indiana, before signing with Charlotte. His one season with the Hornets was forgettable as he averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists this past season, starting 25 of 61 games in which he played.“It was a tough season,” Stephenson said. “I mean, coming from the Pacers to the Hornets; I mean, different organizations. It was very different. It was a struggle for me. And I just want to put that behind me and just looking forward to a great season now.”Rivers was asked if he looked at the Stephenson at Indiana as the player he’d get rather than the one in Charlotte.“Well, you’ve gotta look at the whole thing,” Rivers said. “I mean, Lance has proven what he can do. He’s also proven he can have a tough year like any of us can have. But, obviously, you do lean on, you know, that. You lean on a lot of stuff, when you’re trying to make a decision.“Your own eyes, their analytics and the fact that Indiana offered him what they offered him, told you they wanted him back, tried to trade back for him. It tells you something.”• Video: Rivers talks about why he acquired StephensonIndiana offered Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract to stay before he left for Charlotte.In that final season at Indiana, Stephenson was seen as having a negative disposition. He reportedly scuffled with a teammate in practice during the playoffs, and he also blew into the ear of Miami’s LeBron James during the Eastern Conference Finals.Stephenson was asked about his supposed attitude problem.“I play to win and I do whatever it takes to win,” said Stephenson, who is just 24 years old. “I’m just happy to be with a group of guys that’s going to be behind me and great leaders, All-Star players that I could follow behind their footsteps.”He mentioned Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in that light.“I just want to play with a group of guys that just want to win,” Stephenson said.The subject of his reputation as a bad locker room guy also was broached.“I’m very good in the locker room,” he said. “You could ask all the players that I played with, you could ask the coaches; I’m very good in the locker room.“When I’m on the court, I’ve got that type of energy where it looks like I’m yelling at somebody, but I feel like when I talk to my teammates, it amps them, it makes them work harder. So I want to take that title off my name because that’s not me.” The Clippers have never made it past the conference semifinals. Stephenson will get the opportunity to help change that.Rivers said he’s not yet done sprucing up his roster.“We still, have a lot of work to do,” he said.• Video: Stephenson says he’s a good teammatelast_img

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