The Houston Rockets and Ty Lawson have just decided to go their separate ways. Lawson’s role had been diminishing in Houston recently, making his departure less of an earth-shattering move than may have been a few weeks ago. Lawson being available for the highest bidder, of course, could be a big deal.
Lawson will now be free to either latch on with a playoff contender or he could sign with someone in dire need of point guard help. Odds are Lawson will want some type of mixture of money, role and an opportunity to win. Let’s take a look at five situations that could offer him some some or all of that criteria:
New York Knicks
Jose Calderon is New York’s current starter, Kurt Rambis hates Jimmer Fredette and Jerian Grant isn’t ready to take over. New York has slim playoff hopes, but if the old Lawson could step into a huge role and man the offense effectively, it’s not crazy to think that the Knicks could start to turn things around. Lawson himself sent out a tweet recently that alluded to the possibility of joining the Big Apple, so it’s surely something we need to consider.
— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) February 27, 2016
Lawson joining the Knicks would, in time, accomplish everything he’d be after. He could play out the rest of the season and help them try to finish strong and if everything worked out, he would get handed a new deal next year with a starting role. It’s anyone’s guess if Lawson can snap back into his previous form when with the Denver Nuggets, but if he can he’d give the Knicks a solid boost and naturally help them win a few more games.
Donald Sloan is Brooklyn’s starting point guard, Jarrett Jack is done for the year with a torn ACL and Shane Larkin is the team’s top backup. They even just agreed to a buyout with Joe Johnson, so the Nets don’t have a ton of talent to work with and they specifically could use some help with running the offense and scoring the ball. Lawson can help both and could also give Nets management a peak at what he could look like as the team’s starting point guard going forward.
Jason Kidd has long been searching for a quality point guard to run the Bucks and it’s been made quite clear that it isn’t Michael Carter-Williams. The Bucks aren’t ever going to flat out cut MCW, but he’s been coming off the bench for a while, so they’re clearly open to all other possibilities. O.J. Mayo is starting, after all. Lawson would be the most natural fit at the starting point guard spot they’d have on their roster, and he could potentially show them that he’s the answer for the next couple of years. Even if that’s a reach, he’d be worth a shot for a team that does not have their answer yet at the most crucial position.
Los Angeles Clippers
This one is more about Lawson just wanting a defined role and also trying to win. The Clippers don’t have a quality backup behind Chris Paul, yet they’re quite arguably the only team close to contending that will give Lawson a shot. I can’t see teams like the Cavs, Thunder, Spurs or Warriors buying into Lawson right now. L.A. doesn’t have much to lose and it’d be a decent spot for Lawson to rehab his value for the open market next year. Once Blake Griffin gets back, the Clips would have a slim chance at making a deep playoff run, too. Lawson could add depth and outside shooting to that plight.
Utah is probably the team to watch here for two huge reasons: they actually were involved in trade rumors for Lawson just over a week ago and they still don’t have an answer at the point guard position. Shelvin Mack is arguably not an NBA starting point guard, Raul Neto isn’t either and Trey Burke is best utilized as a scorer off the bench. Utah liked Lawson enough to try to work out a deal, and now they could get him for basically nothing. Even more interesting is Utah’s playoff chances, as they’re on the cusp of worming their way back into the Western Conference playoffs (currently 9th). If things work out, Lawson would have a starting gig, the Jazz could make the playoffs and the two could agree to a long-term deal next summer.
This is another backup role destination, although it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison have all of Sac-town’s point guard minutes spoken for. Still, George Karl loves Ty Lawson and he and the Kings are just crazy enough to think adding him would work out. This is probably the worst spot for Lawson in every way, as he’d have another shaky role, he wouldn’t be making big money and the Kings probably aren’t going to the playoffs.
Got another idea as to where Lawson will spend the remained of the 2015-16 NBA season? Tell us in the comments below!