Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers didn’t acquire Lance Stephenson from the Hornets for the swingman to step into a starting role, Arash Markazi of ESPN.com writes. Instead, Rivers envisions Stephenson as a role-player who can be utilized off the bench, and the team will look elsewhere to add a starting small forward this offseason, Markazi adds. “I like that [Stephenson] can play multiple positions — really 2, 3 and 1 — because he’s a terrific passer,” Rivers told The Beast 980. “I don’t know if I made the trade for him to be a starter, per se; I look at him really more to be a utility player that can come in and play literally three different positions for us. When you look at us, we needed toughness and more athleticism and we get that.”
Rivers believes that Stephenson’s defense will be a valuable asset to the team, Markazi adds. “I like what he can bring for us on the defensive end first,” Rivers said. “I like his body type. I think he’s a tough kid and a very competitive kid. And that has gotten him in trouble at times, but the one thing he has shown in major playoff games is that he can be a top-tier defender, so that’s where we start with him is on the defensive end.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre has turned down an invitation from the Bucks to work out for the team, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times relays. Oubre is convinced that he’ll be off the board by the time the Bucks pick at No. 17, Woelfel notes.
- The Lakers are expected to bring back Nebraska guard Terran Petteway for a second workout, Woelfel adds. Petteway could be in play for Los Angeles with the No. 27 overall selection.
- Unless he is willing to accept a significant pay cut, the Pelicans would be best served to let center Omer Asik leave as a free agent this summer, Jimmy Smith of The Times Picayune opines. Smith cites Asik’s offensive limitations, spotty defense, and occasional lack of hustle on the break as reasons why New Orleans shouldn’t consider paying the big man a salary north of $10MM, which Asik will likely be seeking as an unrestricted free agent.