"I want to take that title off my name because that's not me," Stephenson said during his introductory news conference at the
Just ask his former teammates, Stephenson said. Or his coaches.
The Clippers did a lot of checking with various sources before trading
The passion he likes to play with, Stephenson said, is often mistaken for something less constructive.
"When I'm on the court, I've got that type of energy where it looks like I'm yelling at somebody," Stephenson said, "but I feel like when I talk to my teammates, it amps them and makes them work harder."
"It's a risk if you go by one year," Rivers said, "but I don't know if it's a risk if you go by body of work over his career."
Stephenson, 24, averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 17.1% from three-point range last season with the Hornets, far off his averages of 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 35.2% shooting on three-pointers the previous season with the Pacers.
Stephenson didn't say much about his time in Charlotte other than calling it "a struggle for me," preferring to focus on his excitement in coming to Los Angeles.
"I was on the court and I was working out and when I got the call" about the trade, said Stephenson, who has one more season guaranteed on his contract at $9 million in addition to a team option for $9.4 million for the 2016-17 season. "I was like, 'What? Are you serious? Like, I'm on the Clippers?' I was very happy."
Stephenson, who developed his edge as a child on the blacktops of his native Brooklyn, N.Y., said he would bring defensive tenacity in addition to a resolve the Clippers lacked.
"I feel like last year they weren't as tough; they needed that guy to get them angry and get everybody mad and get other people scared," Stephenson said. "I feel like I could add on to that."
Stephenson also augments a roster already heavy on shooting guards with starter
Of course, the Clippers' roster remains in flux less than two weeks before the start of the free agency period. Rivers said his team, which has only eight players under contract for next season, "has a lot of work to do" and would emphasize acquiring talent over filling positional needs.
The Clippers also could buy their way into the draft next week, most likely in the second round if they decided to do so. The Lakers paid the
"It's not anything we're pushing hard for," Rivers said of obtaining a draft pick, "but if we can get a good spot, we'd like to get higher in the draft than lower."
Freshly removed from easily the worst season of his career, Stephenson hopes he's found just the right place.