As the trade deadline draws near, rumors surrounding the Rockets have reached a cacophonous buzz. Talks of deals with Charlotte, Milwaukee and Miami have all been processed through the rumor mill but suspiciously absent from all of these speculative trade scenarios is the one player Rockets fans (and likely the organization) wishes to dispense with more than any one else. Ty Lawson hasn't been the centerpiece of any trade talk to this point. It appears that Daryl Morey hasn't had any luck in pawning him or his ghastly contract off on other teams.
There are several reasons no teams would be interested in Ty "Breakin' the Law"-Son. Despite his propensity for scoring at a high rate- up to 17.6 points per game in one of his seasons with the Nuggets- his numbers have taken an absolute nose dive this season. While, yes, he's playing about 10 minutes less per game than he did in Denver, that shouldn't account for the atrocious stats Lawson is putting up as a Rocket. Right now he's averaging 6.3 points per game, 1.8 rebounds and 3.6 assist (down from a stunning 9.6 a game in the 14-15 season) while turning the ball over 1.6 times a game.
This is a player the Rockets brought in to take some of the pressure off of James Harden as a play maker and shot creator. The organization understood the risk associated with signing a player that was released by their former team for an obvious drinking problem but based on the empirical evidence there's no way they could have foreseen his production drop to such abhorrent levels.
At just over 12 million dollars a season, his contract is officially one of the worst in the NBA based on the service he has provided. An expiring 12 million dollar contract could be a fairly easily traded asset in some cases, but not when the team on the receiving end of the deal can't expect any significant contribution before they dump that salary.
When figuring out where to look at when finding a trade scenario for Lawson the first criterion should be a necessity for a backup guard. That's essentially what Lawson's role would have to be as it's clear that, unless there's some revelatory coaching moment or 1980's-style-training-montage set to an original track by Kenny Loggins, then Lawson is what he is.
Options include a few teams. Toronto is currently giving Cory Joseph 25.8 minutes per game, Cleveland could use some youth in their rotation as Mo Williams is playing 20 minutes per game in a backup role for Kyrie, and Indiana has Rodney Stuckey playing 15 more minutes a game than he should ever get at 25 mpg.
Under normal circumstances any of these teams would jump at an opportunity for a tried and trusted guard with great scoring potential and a phenomenal assist rate. The problem here is that all of the aforementioned players are on contracts between one sixth and half as small as Lawson's, AND they are all putting up better numbers.
Let that sink in. We're giving Ty Lawson the same amount of minutes as Rodney Stuckey is getting in Indiana, paying him almost twice as much money (Stuckey makes 6.5 mil a year), and Lawson is getting outscored, out-rebounded and out-assisted. Tough times, indeed.
So maybe the Rockets make some deals in the next couple of days. It looks as if they're pushing hard to get Dwight Howard out of Houston and I don't think anyone would be surprised to see Terrence Jones in new colors by next week. Daryl Morey can wheel and deal all he wants, but one thing is almost certain, when it comes to Ty Lawson, the market has shrunk.