Houston Rockets and point guard Ty Lawson agreed to a buyout settlement on Tuesday pending approval from the NBA, per several reports.
Rockets acquired Lawson during the offseason from Denver Nuggets, giving up their 2016 first-round draft pick and four backup players. Besides Lawson, the Rockets also received a second-round pick.
Lawson was brought on board to help James Harden in the backcourt and become the team’s primary floor general. Unfortunately for Houston, those plans failed miserably as Lawson averaged a career-low 5.8 points and 3.4 assists from 22 minutes in 53 games. Exactly a year ago, with the Nuggets, the guard averaged 15.2 points and finishing third in the league for assists (9.6).
Though most pundits reckoned Lawson would fit well in Houston, there were always concerns about the guard’s disciplinary issues which include two arrests last year for DUI, once in Los Angeles and once in Denver. Lawson served two league-imposed suspensions for his off-the-court behavior.
Houston Rockets tried to help…
Rockets did everything within their power to help the troubled guard, including consultancy sessions from John Lucas, a former NBA player who battled drug and alcohol additions. In fact, team officials never had a reason to complain with Lawson off the court and were happy with his interactions with Lucas and his Rockets teammates.
Lawson’s buyout has more do with on-the-court issues, unlike his exit from Denver. ESPN’s Calvin Watkins explained: “It was on the court where the issues arose, and Lawson never found a rhythm or gained confidence. When he was with Denver, Lawson played well as a penetrator who was able to make strong passes to his centers.”
Even though coach J.B. Bickerstaff tried to encourage Lawson to shoot more and lead the second unit, things never materialized the way Houston had hoped. In fact, Lawson lost his second unit role to Jason Terry and barely averaged 5-6 minutes per game after the All-Star break.