Hawes and Barnes are sent to the Hor­nets

Clip­pers ac­quire Stephen­son in what could be the first of many ros­ter moves.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Ben Bolch

The Clip­pers com­pleted the first part of their ros­ter re­vamp Mon­day evening, ac­quir­ing shoot­ing guard Lance Stephen­son from the Char­lotte Hor­nets in a swap of un­der­achiev­ing play­ers that also in­cluded for­ward­cen­ter Spencer Hawes and vet­eran for­ward Matt Barnes.

The trade gives the Clip­pers the elite perime­ter de­fender they have long sought but comes with some risk con­sid­er­ing the 6-foot-5 Stephen­son was a f lop last sea­son with the Hor­nets.

It also leaves the Clip­pers with a glut of shoot­ing guards, mean­ing it could

serve as a pre­cur­sor to a trade in­volv­ing Ja­mal Craw­ford since the team has al­ready sig­naled strong in­ter­est in re-sign­ing free-agent guard Austin Rivers.

Stephen­son, 24, could not re­cap­ture the form that made him a ris­ing star while help­ing the In­di­ana Pac­ers reach the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in back-to-back sea­sons, go­ing from a starter to a bit player with the Hor­nets. He av­er­aged 8.2 points, 4.5 re­bounds and 3.9 as­sists in 25.8 min­utes per game last sea­son while shoot­ing 17.1% from three­p­oint range — num­bers that were down across the board from his fi­nal sea­son with the Pac­ers.

Hawes, 27, was sim­i­larly dis­ap­point­ing in his only sea­son with the Clip­pers. He was sup­posed to be a f loorstretch­ing big man but strug­gled to fit in and fell out of the ro­ta­tion be­fore the play­offs, av­er­ag­ing 5.8 points and 3.5 re­bounds while mak­ing 31.3% of his three-point­ers, his low­est out­put since his rookie sea­son.

Nev­er­the­less, both Stephen­son and Hawes re­tain con­sid­er­able up­side. Stephen­son has shown po­ten­tial as a pro­lific scorer who is strong de­fen­sively and can play both guard po­si­tions as well as small for­ward. Hawes is a for­mer starter who can play cen­ter and power for­ward while ad­dress­ing the Hor­nets’ need for more shoot­ing.

Stephen­son is a rel­a­tively low-risk ac­qui­si­tion be­cause he has only one more sea­son guar­an­teed at $9 mil­lion; his con­tract also in­cludes a team op­tion for $9.4 mil­lion for the 2016-17 sea­son. Hawes has three years and about $17.2 mil­lion left on his con­tract.

Stephen­son tweeted a pic­ture of him­self in a Clip­pers jersey, writ­ing that he was “look­ing for­ward to do­ing what­ever I can to help bring a cham­pi­onship to Los An­ge­les and Clip­per Na­tion.”

Barnes, 35, who was the team’s start­ing small for­ward, is com­ing off one of his best NBA sea­sons but has logged 18,000 min­utes and is clos­ing in on the end of his ca­reer. Barnes’ $3.5-mil­lion salary is only par­tially guar­an­teed for next sea­son.

Stephen­son has been on the Clip­pers’ radar since be­fore the trade dead­line last sea­son, when it be­came ap­par­ent that he was not work­ing out with the Hor­nets. The Clip­pers in­quired with coaches who had pre­vi­ously worked with the moody player to as­sess whether he might be a bet­ter stylis­tic fit with a vet­eran-laden team led by Chris Paul and Blake Grif­fin.

The trade ref lects the Clip­pers’ need to im­prove their ros­ter in the com­ing months by means other than solely free agency be­cause they are largely con­strained by the salary cap. Doc Rivers, the Clip­pers’ coach and pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions, has al­ready iden­ti­fied re-sign­ing cen­ter DeAn­dre Jor­dan as his top off-sea­son pri­or­ity.

The team also hopes to keep Austin Rivers and has in­ter­est in lur­ing vet­eran free-agent for­ward Paul Pierce, who would need to de­cline a $5.5-mil­lion player op­tion with the Washington Wizards. The Clip­pers could of­fer Pierce only $3.37 mil­lion per year for up to three years if Jor­dan re-signed with them. ben.bolch@latimes.com Twit­ter: @latb­bolch Times staff writer Brod­er­ick Turner con­trib­uted to this re­port.



Bob Leverone As­so­ci­ated Press

LANCE STEPHEN­SON av­er­aged 8.2 points and 4.5 re­bounds last sea­son.

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