12:27pm: Lawson has gained traction in conversation with two other teams, but the talks with the Pacers are the most serious, league sources told Charania for a full story.
12:00pm: The Pacers and Ty Lawson are in “strong discussions” about a would-be signing, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Lawson is due to clear waivers from the Rockets at 4pm Central today following a buyout deal that beat Tuesday’s deadline for the point guard to remain playoff-eligible for other teams. Indiana has about $1.9MM left on its room exception, while the prorated minimum would give Lawson only about $300K.
The team has appeared to have interest in an upgrade at the point, reportedly offering George Hill to the Hawks for Jeff Teague before last month’s trade deadline. Hill is a combo guard, like backups Rodney Stuckey and Joe Young, so the addition of Lawson would give the team the pure point guard it lacks. Lawson averaged 9.6 assists against just 2.5 turnovers per game last season before bottoming out with Houston this year. He dished out just 3.4 assists per game with the Rockets, and his 5.8 points per contest are a career low as he faded to a bench role behind Patrick Beverley. It was largely a matter of lost confidence, people around the Rockets reportedly believe.
Indiana would have to waive someone to make room for Lawson, since the team is at the 15-man roster limit, and every Pacer is signed through at least the end of the season. The team is just a game and a half up on ninth-place Washington in the fight for the playoffs, but Indiana has emphasized long-term development on the end of its bench. Rakeem Christmas, last year’s 36th overall pick, has spent most of the season in the D-League and has still yet to appear in an NBA game, while second-year man Shayne Whittington has logged just 10 NBA minutes this season amid heavy D-League playing time. Christmas has a full guarantee of slightly more than $1MM for next season, but Whittington’s contract carries no guarantee beyond this season.