I’d barely finished posting on the signing of K.J. McDaniels and speculating the Houston Rockets might use some of their copious youth to go out and grab a starting point guard when news broke they had done exactly that via a trade for Ty Lawson.
ESPN sources say the Houston Rockets are in advanced discussions on a trade to acquire Ty Lawson from the Nuggets
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 20, 2015
Reportedly the Rockets will get Lawson in exchange for Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey and Nick Johnson plus a protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver. Coming back to Houson is Lawson as well as a 2017 second round pick.
It’s been a long rumored deal that Lawson would be headed Houston’s way, so this is not exactly surprising news, however it’s been a pretty busy week for Lawson who was arrested for D.U.I. this week as well (his second in the past 6 months). Perhaps this incident expedited the Nuggets desire to move the discontented point guard.
Ty Lawson is currently in jail after being arrested last night for a DUI. Lawson has been arrested twice this year for DUI. Unreal.
— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) July 14, 2015
It’s not like the Rockets aren’t used to picking up players who’ve had issues with their previous team: see Josh Smith. In fact this acquisition has an eerily similar semblance to the Smith pick-up given James Harden and Ty Lawson are good friends.
The 27 year old point guard had grown increasingly unhappy in Denver and was looking for a fresh start.
He averaged 15.2 points, 9.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this past season and is a definite upgrade offensively at the starting point guard position.
Though Lawson had his worst 3-point percentage of his career (34.1%) he is sure to see an improvement with more talent surrounding him. He’ll bring ball movement, speed and tenacity to the role and is sure to be a welcome relief for Harden specifically in terms of ball handling.
This duo may well enter the conversation now for top 5 starting back courts given their combined skills.
As far as the actual trade, if the Rockets can integrate Lawson into the roster without any negative side effects in the locker room this has the potential to be a big coup for GM Daryl Morey.
It was always anticipated the Rockets picked up the option on Papanikolaou to use precisely for this purpose.
With the addition of Montrezl Harrel to the roster and the ongoing improvement of Clint Capela the Rockets won’t miss Dorsey as both are upgrades offensively. Nor will they be sad to lose Prigioni who is long in the tooth and outside of a few good games never really fit the Rockets system. Johnson had yet to prove he would be a factor though he likely represents the best player in the trade from the Rockets side.
Overall it feels like a big win especially if Lawson brings a professional attitude to Houston and works in concert with Harden. One thing is for sure the Rockets organization should make sure they add the Uber app to his phone as soon as he walks through the front doors of the Toyota Center.
Some fans were worried about Houston taking a step back with Smith headed to the Clippers, but the signing of McDaniels today and this trade shows Morey isn’t about to let the West powers (San Antonio, L.A. Clippers, Golden State and Oklahoma City) run away with the coveted prize. This move keeps the Rockets in the conversation, arguably moving them higher as they’ve upgraded at the very spot they needed it most while not losing much in the process.
Bring on the Wild, Wild West!
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