5 Players the Miami Heat Should Look to Trade for by the Trade Deadline

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4. Lance Stephenson (Charlotte Hornets)


After four up-and-down seasons with the Indiana Pacers, shooting guard Lance Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million dollar contract with the Charlotte Hornets last summer.

It is safe to say Stephenson has been a total disappointment in Charlotte. He has not lived up to his contract, or for that matter, to his uneven play in Indiana.

Although his rebounding and assist numbers are up over his career averages, he is shooting 37% from the field – his lowest since his rookie season – and averaging 9.0 points per game, a significant drop off from his final year in Indianapolis, when he scored nearly 14 points per contest. His .592 percentage from the free throw line is the second-worst of his career.


Stephenson is only 24 years old and his contract is user-friendly.

He is guaranteed only (!) $9 million this season and next because the Hornets hold the team option for the third year. Though Stephenson was offered more overall dollars by the Pacers last summer, the fifth year player out of Cincinnati bet on himself and signed for less money and fewer years in opting to move to Charlotte.

The Hornets were a surprise last season, winning 43 games and making the playoffs, only to be eliminated by the Heat. But with a young and talented core of center Al Jefferson, point guard Kemba Walker and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the future looked bright for Michael Jordan’s team.

The addition of Stephenson seemed to be a solid move designed to build on last season’s success.

Instead, the experiment has been a complete flop.

Stephenson is still young and his talent that has made him both a solid contributor in the past has also made him a source of frustration to his coaches and teammates (along with his temperament and personality). Maybe he can find it with a change of scenery.

Miami does not at first seem to be a likely destination. Stephenson and several current and former Heat players, most notably LeBron James, have scuffled over the years during the regular season and in competitive postseason battles.

But those Heat teams no longer exist, and Miami could use a player like Stephenson whose hybrid size and game still make him a matchup problem for opposing teams.

While he is not an athletic player – there seems to be a plodding, herky-jerky rhythm to his game – he is an effective ball-handler, playmaker and scorer (at least in the past). He is a latter-day Charles Oakley/Anthony Mason-type player who does a little bit of everything in an unorthodox way.

The Heat could use him as a reserve forward, behind Deng or Andersen, and he could eventually earn starters minutes, if not a starting role, and play alongside Bosh, Wade, Whiteside and Deng.

When healthy and locked in mentally, Stephenson is as crafty and versatile as any player in the game.

However, the Hornets and the Heat are fighting over the final two playoff spots in the East, and it seems unlikely the two teams would execute a deal that might help the other.

But stranger things have happened…

Even if a deal between the Heat and Hornets does not happen, Charlotte may still shop Stephenson to other teams in the East and West who could use his considerable but maddening talents.

Next: Jeremy Lin (Los Angeles Lakers)

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Rizwan is a graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School and is a fan of all sports, but in particular basketball (NBA and NCAA). He has been a freelance writer since 2011 and is proud to be a staff writer for HeatNation.com.