We all have buyer’s remorse, but it’s typically over small, non-binding purchases that have an insignificant impact on our futures.
That was not the case for the Charlotte Hornets, however, who according to Adrian Wojnarowski, were looking to trade former guard Lance Stephenson back to the Indiana Pacers three weeks after signing him.
Woj revealed this on Part 1 of the latest episode of his podcast. Talking with Bobby Marks, former Assistant GM of the Brooklyn Nets, Woj expressed doubt over the Lakers signing Stephenson since Lance hasn’t been able to perform for any team outside the Pacers. He then used Charlotte as an example:
“Lance has not played well anywhere but Indiana. He has been such a fish out of water everywhere he’s gone. Charlotte, they were trying to trade him back to Indiana like three weeks in.”
Look, free agent signings don’t work out every season, but to realize Lance wasn’t going to work out just three weeks into the deal? I need time to process this.
What could he have done in three weeks to make Cho and others regret the signing? I can only imagine the stories.
But that’s not all. Marks then added that he and Billy King (the GM of the Nets at the time) had agreed with Charlotte to trade Brook Lopez for Stephenson and Marvin Williams, but that King and he backed out last minute:
“I woke up at three in the morning, and [Billy King] woke up at the same time, and we were both texting each other saying ‘We can’t do this, can we?’”
No Bobby, you could have. You should have. Why did you come to your senses.
Let’s just consider how that trade could’ve altered things. The Hornets would’ve taken on Lopez’s massive contract of between $19 and $21 million per season, but it would have expired this season. By trading Stephenson then, there’s no deal for Spencer Hawes, no deal for Miles Plumlee, and no deal for Dwight Howard (actually, I could totally see the Hornets trading Lopez for Howard last summer).
But the real kicker here is Williams, who would’ve been off the books then instead of waiting for his contract to end in what should be two seasons (assuming he accepts his player option after this season).
In other words, the Hornets would have entered this free agency with cap space. Oh, what could have been.
Update (9:35 EST): As BzCityCtyKnights points out, Stephenson wouldn’t have been eligible for a trade three weeks after signing, per NBA rules, but I can wager who they called the day he became available.