The Houston Rockets have agreed to a buyout agreement with point guard Ty Lawson, pending league approval. In his first and only season in Houston, Lawson has averaged 5.8 points and 3.4 assists while shooting 39% from the field in 22 minutes a night. After starting 12 games in the beginning of the season, Lawson has been reduced to a bench role, and in the past three games he’s played a total of just 16 minutes. To put it nicely, the Ty Lawson experiment has been an utter disaster for the Rockets.
The 28 year old point guard spent six years with the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Rockets this past offseason. Houston GM Daryl Morey traded a protected first round pick, as well as Pablo Prigioni, Kostas Papanikolaou, Nick Johnson, and Joey Dorsey to Denver in exchange for Lawson and a second round pick. The talented yet troubled Lawson was supposed to provide a secondary playmaking option in order to take the pressure off 2015 MVP runner-up James Harden. After adding Lawson to a team that went 56-26 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals last season, expectations were sky high in H-Town. However, it’s been a miserable season for the Rockets, as they currently sit in the eighth seed in the West with a record of 29-31. The Rockets have arguably been the most disappointing team in the NBA, and much of their struggles are because of Ty Lawson’s lack of productivity.
Lawson certainly has his issues on and off the court, but there is no doubt that he still has the talent to be a quality NBA player. He’s experienced a rather successful career since being drafted 18th overall out of the University of North Carolina in 2008. Lawson is just one season removed from finishing third in the league with 9.6 assists per game, and he has career averages of 13.3 points 6.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
While both New York teams are in desperate need of a point guard, the Knicks are far more likely to sign Lawson than the Nets are. The Knicks point guard struggles have been well documented, as Jose Calderon no longer resembles anything close to an effective starting point guard, and Jerian Grant is too inexperienced and raw to become a full time starter. The Utah Jazz were reportedly discussing a potential trade to acquire Lawson at the trade deadline, so don’t be surprised if they sign Lawson in order to make a playoff push. Another wild card team to keep an eye on is the Milwaukee Bucks. Jason Kidd needs a point guard to develop and run his offense, and it’s clear that Michael Carter-Williams isn’t the right player for that. Lawson has the talent and natural passing ability that Kidd looks for in point guards.
Once Ty Lawson’s buyout becomes official, Patrick Beverley and Jason Terry will be the only point guards on the Rockets roster. Considering that Terry isn’t even a natural point guard, Houston may look to add a point guard by signing a D-League player to a 10-day contract. Even if the Rockets sneak into the playoffs, this season has been a huge disappointment. Daryl Morey will once again have to re-construct this team into a contender.