After visiting the Kings on the weekend, free agent point guard Ty Lawson had planned to meet with Pelicans officials early this week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. However, Lawson ultimately cancelled that meeting when Sacramento made a contract offer, which he accepted.
Within his initial report on Lawson’s deal with the Kings, Wojnarowski noted that the Pelicans had “serious interest” in the 28-year-old. Lawson has significant upside, but is coming off the worst season of his career and has dealt with off-field problems in recent years, as he was arrested multiple times on DUI charges and spent time in rehab.
The Pelicans are currently poised to enter the season with Jrue Holiday as their starting point guard and Tim Frazier backing him up. Other backcourt players, such as Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, could occasionally handle the ball, but aren’t really point guards. As such, Lawson probably would have had to battle Frazier for the No. 2 spot on the point guard depth chart if he had landed in New Orleans.
The path to playing time might be a little simpler for Lawson in Sacramento, where Rajon Rondo is no longer manning the point. Darren Collison looks like the Kings’ starter, with Garrett Temple backing him up. However, Collison is facing domestic violence charges and Temple – while capable of playing the point – isn’t really a pure point guard.
Terms of Lawson’s new deal with the Kings aren’t yet known, but it will be interesting to see if Sacramento offered him more money than New Orleans would have been able to, in order to convince him to cancel that meeting. The Pelicans used most of their $2.9MM room exception on Frazier, and would have had to offer Lawson a minimum-salary deal, while the Kings still have their full room exception available.