Walking through the Playa Del Rey beachside community on a Monday afternoon in early November, Lance Stephenson is all smiles. He’s back living in the same nearby Los Angeles community he resided in just three years earlier when he was a member of the Clippers. And while he’s opted for the familiar scenery in his return to L.A., his journey back has been a bumpy roller-coaster ride that has brought him back to La La Land with a different mindset after a tumultuous three years in the Association.

In the summer of 2015, the Charlotte Hornets traded the 6-5 Brooklyn guard to the Clippers in exchange for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes. His time in Los Angeles would end up being quick and frustrating, as his playing time dwindled from the start and he never truly found his rhythm and role within the rotation. Eventually, by the time the trade deadline came around, Stephenson’s stint in L.A. had come to an end—he was subsequently traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jeff Green. The short-lived tenure in the City of Angeles, which surely left a bad taste in Stephenson’s mouth, led to a three-year expedition that ultimately brought him back—this time in the purple and gold as he looks for a little redemption.

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