The New Orleans Pelicans and free-agent guard Lance Stephenson have agreed to a deal, per Shams Charania of The Vertical. Stephenson last played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in 2015-16 before becoming a free agent.
Although he averaged just 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds over the course of last season, Stephenson showed glimpses of the All-Star player he was on the verge of becoming with the Indiana Pacers while with Memphis down the stretch. For a depleted Grizzlies team, Stephenson averaged 14.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 26 games during the regular season, and then put up 13 points per game during the postseason.
The move to sign Stephenson by New Orleans will create an issue, as the team already has 15 players signed to guaranteed contracts entering the 2016-17 season. Either somebody else will have to go, or the guard doesn’t make the final roster.
After finishing 30-52 in Alvin Gentry’s first season as head coach last year, the Pelicans are hoping to get their injury-riddled team healthy. It’s not an injury that will put point guard Jrue Holiday on the sidelines to start the season, but he will tend to his ailing wife, causing him to miss an indeterminate number of games to start the year. The team also has swingman Tyreke Evans, but due to multiple knee injuries over the course of his career, his status is in question.
So despite lasting until the second week of September as a free agent, Stephenson may have found a role that will allow him to see playing time and attempt to duplicate the run he got on during the conclusion of the 2015-16 season.