The Rockets have been part of non-stop, swirling trade rumors not long after the team got off to their underwhelming start, and Ty Lawson has been smack dab in the center of a lot of those rumors for several weeks now. The guard's struggles since he's arrived in Houston need no recap here at TDS. We've had front row tickets to that show all season.
But with Lawson's minutes on a steady decline since interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has taken over, it's said that Lawson's agent has requested the Rockets to examine any possibilities to move him to another team, and it appears the team has at least attempted to test the waters for their underachieving point man.
The only problem is those trade waters seem to be running completely dry at the moment, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
"Even the Rockets, who have a long track record of expertly drumming up leverage in seemingly desperate trade scenarios, will struggle to find Lawson a new home. The trade market for him is minimal, league sources tell CBS Sports, and the best move for Houston might be to hold on to him.
"'The only team that make sense already has (Rajon) Rondo,' and Eastern Conference Executive said. 'There's no market.'"
Lawson's on the books for $12.4 million this year, and his terrible play thus far is a likely sticking point for any potentially interested team. Berger mentions that the Rockets could even consider releasing Lawson if they can't find a suitable dance partner, though there's been counter talk to that as well.
"There are even whispers in league circles that the Rockets might consider waving the 28-year-old guard, who agreed to make his $13.2 million salary in 2016-2017 fully non-guaranteed as part of the trade. But there are also voices in the league that I trust who are dubious on that point; better for Rockets' GM Daryl Morey to keep Lawson as a potential trade piece in another deal between now and the February trade deadline."
The Rockets could also be hoping Lawson's game, and concurrently his trade value, improves after he returns from a 2-game suspension for last year's DUI.
If Lawson can even show small glimpses of the player who's averaged 13.7 points and 6.5 assists for his career, the Rockets should be able to get some team to bite, though Berger speculates the Rockets may have to include future draft picks just to incentivize someone to take Lawson off of the Rockets' hands.
"...there is a team not coached by Lawson's former cheerleader, George Karl, that clearly and desperately needs a veteran point guard: the woeful Philadelphia 76ers. Before Jerry Colangelo came aboard, you know the Sixers would have been sniffing around in an effort to collect a few more future picks for the trouble of taking on Lawson- which is likely what it's going to take for Houston to rid themselves of him."
My, how far the mighty have fallen.
In less than 3 months, Lawson has gone from being a potential difference-maker on a Rockets squad with title-aspirations to possibly being packaged with draft picks just for the Rockets' ability to move on. And right now, it doesn't seem like even the inclusion of picks would help the Rockets' and Lawson's cause.
"'But not right now,' another Eastern Conference executive said."
It sounds like the Rockets are stuck with Lawson, for better or worse, at least for the time-being, and it bears watching whether the marriage can be saved in the next two months or if it'll be on Morey to work some patented magic as the league gets closer to the trade deadline.