How Lance Stephenson Makes The Memphis Grizzlies Must-Watch TV

The transaction wire offered little fireworks ahead of the NBA’s 3 p.m. trade deadline Thursday. That was, of course, until Dan Woike of the Orange County Register broke the news that guard Lance Stephenson had been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies by the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Jeff Green.

Immediately upon seeing the news, I jumped for joy. Stephenson, an amazingly talented swingman with the a penchant for both the spectacular and spectacularly awful, was just paired with the NBA’s goon squad in Memphis, led by Zach Randolph, Uncle Tony Allen and everyone’s favorite road-raging parent, Matt Barnes. This marriage seemed almost too good to be true.

Stephenson came onto the NBA scene as an irritant bench warmer who had a knack for getting under the Miami Heat’s skin as a member of the Indiana Pacers. He was famous for displaying the choke sign toward LeBron James during Game 3 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, prompting Heat veteran Juwan Howard to confront Stephenson.

In the three years following the incident, Stephenson blossomed into one of the best two-way players in basketball, leading the league in triple-doubles in the 2013-14 season, dazzling the people with plays like this:

The height of Stephenson’s tomfoolery came in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat. In an effort to get into the Heat’s head, Stephenson brought out all the stops …

walking in Miami’s team huddles ...

blowing in LeBron James’ ear ...

and slapping LeBron in the face …

Stephenson’s utterly hilarious antics continued when he signed with the Charlotte Hornets, which ultimately got him traded to L.A. this past offseason.

That brings us to today, where Stephenson is now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. While his addition probably won't add much success on the court, it damn sure will bring entertainment value. Just imagine the first time Lance does something like slap himself in the face or a repeat of the Heat huddle situation, except this time it goes left and the opposing team isn't having it, prompting Uncle Tony and Z-Bo to regulate. Or if Lance gets into it with the other team one too many times and Matt Barnes figures he's tired of defending Lance's honor, leaving the door open for a friendly game of "hold me back, dawg" while Three 6 Mafia's "Tear the Club Up" blares through the speakers of FedEx Forum.

The Lance Stephenson experience in Memphis has the potential to be amazing or catastrophically awesome for the next two months. Either way, I'll have my popcorn ready.

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