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NBA PM: Ty Lawson And The Rockets Nearing End?

Ty Lawson was expected to push Houston to title contention. Now he may be on the move.

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The past year hasn’t been the most fruitful for veteran point guard Ty Lawson. The time period has been littered with numerous off the court incidents magnified by diminished production on the hardwood.

The Houston Rockets acquired Lawson from the Denver Nuggets this past summer in a move that was expected to push the franchise deeper into title contention. After all, the Rockets were coming off of a Western Conference Finals appearance with the core group remaining intact.

However, Houston (13-14) has stumbled out of the gate and currently sits seventh in the Western Conference standings more than a quarter of the way through the season. The team has been inconsistent from the start, head coach Kevin McHale was fired early on, former All-Star center Dwight Howard is reportedly frustrated, numerous cogs in the rotation have battled injury and Lawson has failed to deliver the goods.

To make matters worse, the league announced they have suspended Lawson for two games, without pay, for driving while impaired.

Shortly after this news was released, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports published a report detailing the Rockets’ willingness to shop Lawson via trade if the club can find the right package.

According to the report:

“The Rockets’ front office has been cooperating with Lawson’s representatives in exploring possible deals to bring back some measure of return on the organization’s original investment in Lawson, league sources said.

Lawson relinquished the $13.2 million player option on his 2016-17 contract to clear the way for Houston to acquire him from the Denver Nuggets in July. Because Lawson has struggled to find a way to play off the ball with star James Harden on the floor, the organization and Lawson’s representatives are moving toward cutting short this experiment, league sources said.”

The seventh year pro is averaging career lows in points (5.9), rebounds (1.9) and field goal percentage (33 percent), while his turnover ratio (2.8) per 36 minutes of action is his second highest since entering the league.

Over the short term the failed Lawson experiment hurts the Rockets chances this season. But the team only has $45 million in guaranteed salaries on the books next season with the futures of Lawson ($13.2 million non-guaranteed) and Howard ($23.2 million player option) up in the air. The franchise is in a strongly leveraged position to retool on the fly with the necessary cap space and a superstar nearing his prime.

New York Knicks reportedly in the market for guard help

NBA trade season has officially begun so you can expect there to be plenty of chatter over the next two months leading up to the deadline. One of the most interesting things to evaluate each season is which teams will emerge as buyers or sellers in the market.

The New York Knicks have been racking up losses as of late but still may have a shot to make a run at a playoff berth. According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Knicks are in the market for backcourt help since they rank at the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories involving guard play.

According to sources contained in Begley’s report:

“Some members of the front office recently expressed interest in obtaining a young scoring guard or a shooter to improve the backcourt, sources said. Though, one source cautioned, the Knicks don’t plan, at this point, to make a move that would have an impact on their future cap flexibility.

The club is projected to have close to $20 million to spend in free agency this summer. So the Knicks likely wouldn’t want to trade for a player who is making a significant salary next season, thereby eating into their cap space.”

Veteran floor general Jose Calderon has one year remaining on his deal while rookie guard Jerian Grant isn’t ready to fully take the reins of the offense. Last season’s surprise, Langston Galloway, has continued to struggle with his shot as of late, making an already thin guard unit appear even thinner.

Veteran guards who are reportedly on the market include Jamal Crawford, Brandon Jennings and Kevin Martin.

Martin is currently battling a wrist injury while Jennings has yet to return from a ruptured Achilles suffered last season. Crawford and Jennings are both headed toward unrestricted free agency next summer so acquiring either player would have no impact on the Knicks’ future cap space.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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