Lance Stephenson Waived by Pelicans After Groin Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2016

Nov 2, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lance Stephenson (5) warms up before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans announced they have waived guard Lance Stephenson after he suffered a groin injury that's expected to sideline him six to 10 weeks following surgery.

Shams Charania of The Vertical and Marc Stein of ESPN first reported the decision.

However, according to Stein, the Pelicans will "participate fully in Lance Stephenson's injury rehab and told him they're open to re-signing him once healed."

Stein offered more context on why the Pelicans ultimately chose to release the guard:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

New Orleans didn't want to waive Lance, sources said, but saw no alternative with 11 healthy players and no sure path to an injury exception

Matt Barnes of the Sacramento Kings saw things differently, however, putting the Pelicans on blast for their decision. He wrote on Instagram:

So my man Lance Stephenson busts his ass for the Pelicans, gets hurt, requires surgery & what does he get for his hard work??? WAIVED SMFH Something fans have to understand is y'all get mad when players leave during free agency or hold out for money.. We have to do what's best for US, we have a small window to make as much money as we can.. Remember this is a BUSINESS 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 & needs surgery now, so instead of supporting him & helping him get healthy they cut him! 

Stephenson, 26, played well for the Pelicans this season coming off the bench, averaging 9.7 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per contest across six games. The veteran guard, who also had stints with the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in his seven-year career, appeared to have carved a niche for himself in New Orleans this season.

The Pelicans are already woefully thin at guard with Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Quincy Pondexter currently sidelined. That, in part, has contributed to the team's 0-6 start to the 2016-17 season.

In a corresponding move to Stephenson's release, the Pelicans will sign free-agent guard Archie Goodwin to a two-year contract, per Charania. Scott Kushner of the Advocate added that the second year is a team option. Goodwin confirmed on Twitter that he was signing with the team.


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