Lance Stephenson will sign a one-year, $4 million deal with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The move represents an opportunity for Stephenson to reclaim some of the playing time and stature that he has lost in recent years.
Stephenson played 35.3 minutes per game with the Indiana Pacers during the 2013-14 season but struggled significantly after leaving for the Charlotte Hornets in free agency. He bounced around the league after that, playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Pacers again before landing a one-year, $4.4 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason.
His performance there was uneven. While a few big games and his air guitar celebrations made him a fan-favorite, his turnovers were damaging to a team that needed stability from its bench lineups and his shot selection was often frustrating with so many other mouths to feed on the offensive end. Stephenson is firmly a bench player at this point in his NBA career, but in China, he will likely be the best player on his team. For someone who enjoys having the ball in his hands as much as Stephenson does, that is an enticing proposition.