After the New Orleans Pelicans waived Lance Stephenson yesterday, the organization received some backlash because it gave the appearance of a cold-hearted move. Have a look at what Matt Barnes had to say on the matter.
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! #Bullshit #HoldYaHeadLilBro
Yeah, it’s Matt Barnes, the oft outspoken NBA veteran, but one should assume he was not the only person who viewed Stephenson’s release in a negative light. There exist numerous opinions who are quick to judge and either do not care or simply fail to grasp the necessary facts.
In response, the Pelicans stated their well-intentioned reasoning to several insiders including Marc Stein.
The Pelicans, sources say, will participate fully in Lance Stephenson's injury rehab and told him they're open to re-signing him once healed— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 7, 2016
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— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 7, 2016
Since Jrue Holiday is away from the team for personal reasons, not outright injury, New Orleans' case for a hardship waiver is not automatic— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 7, 2016
The Pelicans, I'm told, have told Lance Stephenson they will participate in his injury rehab in New Orleans or wherever he wishes to do it.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 7, 2016
It all makes perfect sense. Really.
3 players on the Pelicans roster of 15 have yet to suit up in a game (Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter). Now with Lance Stephenson going down with a longer term injury, the team was down to 11 healthy players. Not to mention, Tim Frazier is the only remaining healthy player who can function comfortably in a play-making role, and a lack of an immediate hardship exception put the Pelicans in a precarious situation that called for the more radical decision.
Next time, though, do yourself a favor, New Orleans — just be sure to mention the surrounding facts of a similar scenario from the start. You could turn flipflop the news into some good PR!