Southwest Notes: Stephenson, Diallo, Grizzlies

The Pelicans have gotten some negative feedback from around the league for their decision to waive Lance Stephenson, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Stephenson was let go after suffering a serious groin injury on Saturday that is expected to sideline him for several weeks. With New Orleans already missing Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Quincy Pondexter, the team needed to open a roster spot to sign Archie Goodwin. With only $100K of his contract guaranteed, Stephenson was an obvious candidate.

The Pelicans are obligated to pay Stephenson his full salary while he is injured and have pledged to help with his recovery, but they haven’t escaped criticism for the way they handled the situation. “Remember this is a business,” Kings forward Matt Barnes posted on Instagram. “When you can no longer serve your purpose, these teams cut you, trade you or bury you on the bench. Case in point, Lance gets hurt playing and needs surgery now, so instead of supporting him and helping him get healthy, they cut him.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans plan to send rookie power forward Cheick Diallo to the D-League this week for more playing time, tweets Jennifer Hale of WVUE Fox 8 in New Orleans. Diallo has appeared in just one game so far, getting six minutes of action.
  • Grizzlies coach David Fizdale is still deciding whether to give more minutes to Andrew Harrison or Wade Baldwin, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Harrison has been getting more playing time lately and has started two games with Tony Allen nursing a knee injury. “Wade had been struggling and I’ve got two young point guards,” Fizdale said. “Neither one has solidified that spot.”
  • The Mavericks are off to a slow start, but owner Mark Cuban has too much at stake financially to give up on this season, contends Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News. The Mavericks draw about 20,000 fans for each home game, which Gosselin believes will only keep happening if they stay in the playoff race. Dallas picked up its first win Sunday after starting the season with five straight losses.

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