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:
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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