After less than one season with the Houston Rockets, point guard Ty Lawson has reportedly agreed to a contract buyout with the team.
The Rockets acquired the 28-year-old veteran this past offseason in a trade with the Nuggets after he spent the first six years of his NBA career in Denver.
Lawson was supposed to give Houston a dynamic offensive threat at the point to complement stars James Harden and Dwight Howard, but the chemistry hasn't been present for the Rockets this season, as evidenced by the early-season firing of head coach Kevin McHale and their disappointing 29-31 record.
Watkins reported while it didn't work out between the Rockets and Lawson, the team did try to make it work:
Calvin Watkins @calvinwatkins
Rockets showed tapes of Lawson when he was in Denver, tried to pair him up with different lineups, encouraged him, nothing worked.3/1/2016, 7:41:12 PM
The former North Carolina standout has suffered through the worst season of his career by far with per-game averages of just 5.8 points, 3.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported Feb. 26 that the Rockets and Lawson were in talks to part ways via a buyout.
Lawson's agent, Happy Walters, later confirmed that possibility, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston:
Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26
Ty Lawson's agent, Happy Walters, confirmed in a text message he is discussing a buyout for Ty with the #Rockets. https://t.co/myKc7Tu0XU2/26/2016, 6:04:45 PM
The decision to buy out Lawson represents a change of heart by the Rockets, as Wojnarowski previously reported they did not intend to do so after a possible pre-deadline trade with the Utah Jazz fell apart.
While the 2009 NCAA champion had one year remaining on his contract at $13,213,482 prior to the buyout, as noted by Spotrac, other teams are now free to sign him at a significantly reduced rate.
Lawson averaged at least 15.2 points per game with the Nuggets every season from 2011-12 through 2014-15 and put up 8.8 and 9.6 assists per contest in 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively.
Off-court issues have plagued him, though, as there are four arrests for driving under the influence on his record, including the most recent incident in July 2015.
That led to his trade from the Nuggets, and while he has been a model citizen with the Rockets, his production has dropped off in a big way in comparison to his career averages of 13.3 points, 6.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Lawson has proved to be a quality and even borderline All-Star-caliber player for much of his NBA tenure, though, which should make him an attractive option in free agency.
Houston wasn't the right fit because of Harden's domination of the ball, but Lawson could be a great signing for a team that needs a ball-handler or someone capable of providing a major burst off the bench.
There is no question that Lawson's career is trending downward in a major way, but another change of scenery and a more positive environment may be what he needs to return to the type of form he displayed while in Denver.
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