The NBA is amid a COVID-19 outbreak that has touched nearly every team in some capacity; for the Hawks, only one player has entered COVID protocols, but he’s the most important player to the team’s overall success — Trae Young. His status for the Christmas Day game vs. the Knicks is cloudy as players must test negative twice before returning.
There was a palpable excitement around New York City and Atlanta for this rematch of the first round of the playoffs from last year. In one short series, Young became the villain of the basketball mecca. He was set to miss the matchup against the Cavaliers last Sunday, but the NBA moved it as Cleveland dealt with an outbreak of their own, which benefits the Hawks and Trae Young.
Without much information to go off, it is difficult to speculate on Young’s status for the upcoming schedule. However, that hasn’t stopped Travis Schlenk from working his magic to improve the roster. According to Marc Stein, Lance Stephenson is in line to replace Young on the active roster.
More NBA from me: https://t.co/LGN9cV7Dif
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 21, 2021
Stephenson has been out of the NBA since the 2018-19 season when he teamed up with LeBron James in Los Angeles. He played in 68 games that season, averaging 16.5 minutes per game. The longtime Indiana Pacer spent the following season in China with the Liaoning Flying Leopards before returning to the United States this season. In October, he was selected 13th overall in the G-League draft by the Grand Rapids Gold, which is the Denver Nuggets affiliate. With the new rules set in place, the Hawks wouldn’t have to create a roster spot to add Stephenson because Trae Young is in the health and safety protocols. Mike Singer, who covers Denver, confirmed Stein’s report.
Can confirm Lance Stephenson is getting a call-up with the Hawks, as @TheSteinLine reported.
Stephenson had been a huge positive for Grand Rapids and Jason Terry. It was apparent when I talked to him a couple weeks ago how hungry he was to get back to the league.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) December 21, 2021
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire