By now, you've likely read about the Hornets being interested in trading Lance Stephenson. Just two weeks ago in this same feature, I claimed that every angle of the story had already been covered. Well, of course the internet proved me wrong. In just the last few days there have been two rather interesting stories on the matter.
First, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer provided a very detailed article on Stephenson's arrival and now his likely upcoming departure. He, like I and hopefully most fans, preach patience, as it would make little sense for the Hornets to make a trade and step back at the same time.
According to sources (or sauces?), Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelbourne report that the Hornets are likely to keep Stephenson for now. Although his reason is less about the team's front office being sensible and more about the rest of the league having little interest in the struggling shooting guard. Another factor, not often discussed that is featured in the article is how Stephenson has been dealing with a groin injury. Against Phoenix last Wednesday night, Stephenson appeared to collide with the base of the basket after making a nice left handed drive to the hoop. His injury could clear the way for Jeff Taylor or P.J. Hairston to see some action in the next two games.
While some were hoping that Stephenson, Al Jefferson, or Kemba Walker would become the team's first All-Star since Gerald Wallace, it seems fans will have to wait for that announcement for at least one more season. However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver did recently announce that it is a matter of when, not if, the city of Charlotte hosts an All-Star game. That's great news for the team, the city, and the state.
In other news, the team announced a new deal with Waste Management of Charlotte, which includes new recycling bins and a celebration during the NBA's annual Green Week. Considering the team's recent struggles, maybe they're being brought in to recycle more than just the empty plastic cups strewn throughout the stadium after games.
And finally, the Hornets players, like many others throughout the league, wore "I can't breathe" shirts to spread awareness about the tragic death of Eric Garner. For more, be sure to check out the article, again by the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.
Looking ahead to the next four games (played in a grueling five nights), the Hornets have a chance to make a statement that might dramatically alter the course of their entire season. Last year I thought the outcomes of the February back to back games against Detroit would greatly determine if Charlotte was a buyer or a seller at the upcoming deadline. The team won those two games and traded for Gary Neal the next day and proceeded to go 18-9 for the rest of the season. Could four wins mean the playoff hopes are still alive? Could four losses mean Clifford's job? Either way, there should be plenty of links for next week.