DECEMBER 22ND, 11:16am: Teams around the NBA have little interest in trading for Lawson, league sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Some speculate that Houston will ultimately waive Lawson, Berger hears, though other sources who spoke with the CBS scribe cast doubt on that notion.
12:29pm: The Rockets want to keep Lawson, but the point guard’s camp is seeking a way for him to receive more playing time on another team, a source tells Watkins (Twitter link).
DECEMBER 18TH, 12:10pm: The Rockets and representatives for Ty Lawson are working in tandem to look for possible deals that would send the point guard out of Houston, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The NBA is poised to give Lawson a two-game suspension that stems from a recent legal resolution related to a 2014 DUI charge, Wojnarowski also reports. Lawson was also arrested on DUI charges this past July, an it’s possible that the league will ultimately hand down a separate suspension related to that, tweets Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com.
The news of Houston’s engagement in trade talk involving Lawson represents an apparent change from earlier this month, when the Rockets were holding off on the idea even as teams around the league were of the belief that they’d be able to trade for him on the cheap, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Lawson said he was on board with interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s decision to remove him from the starting lineup last month. Bickerstaff has said time and again that it was a priority for the team to help him return to his usual high level of play, and that he believed Lawson would ultimately achieve that, but his playing time has continued to dwindle, notes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Lawson has registered fewer than 20 minutes in each of his past three games and, as Feigen points out, he’s totaled only 11 points in the team’s seven games thus far in December (Twitter link). He’s averaging just 5.9 points and 4.2 assists in 25.2 minutes per game this season after posting 15.2 points and 9.6 assists in 35.5 minutes per contest last season with the Nuggets.
The client of Happy Walters gave up the guarantee on his salary of more than $13.213MM for next season to facilitate the trade that sent him from Houston to Denver in July. He’s making more than $12.404MM this season in what’s now the final guaranteed year of his contract, though the suspension will cost him $225,536 out of that figure.
The Rockets, with a disappointing 13-14 record, are in a difficult position as they consider trades, since they’re less than $2MM shy of a $88.74MM hard cap they imposed upon themselves when they signed second-round pick Montrezl Harrell. Houston has three small trade exceptions, one of which expires Saturday, though it would be difficult for the team to use them, since the Rockets can’t add much salary. Today is the last day teams can trade for players and still be eligible to flip them in a trade that aggregates their salary with other players before the February 18th trade deadline, and the Rockets have paid close attention to the aggregation deadline in recent years.
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