Dec 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) shoots the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Given his disappointing performance so far this season, look for the Houston Rockets to try to deal point guard Ty Lawson before the trade deadline.
For a player that averaged 15 points and 10 assists a season ago, Ty Lawson‘s 6 points and 3 assists as a Rocket has been underwhelming.
When Lawson is on the court for the Rockets, he doesn’t do much of anything as he is often reluctant to shoot the basketball. Occasionally, Lawson will make plays for his teammates reminiscent of his days in Denver, but those instances are far too seldom.
Acquiring Lawson during the offseason was a smart move by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. James Harden wanted another ball handler, and the Rockets were able to land Lawson by trading players who hardly set foot on the court. At the time, Houston figured that if Lawson was unable to adjust to being a secondary ball handler, trading for Lawson would still be worth the risk because the Rockets didn’t have to give up anything of value.
— Rockets Fan Zone (@Rockets_FZ) February 1, 2016
That being said, with the Rockets being under .500 at the all-star break, and with Lawson underperforming, I expect Lawson’s time as a Rocket is running out.
Next: Who Rockets Could Trade For
The problem with trading Ty Lawson is that his value is so low because of his performance as a Rocket. Though Lawson may thrive on a team that is a better fit for his style of play, teams that would be interested in acquiring Lawson would have a lot of leverage in negotiations with the Rockets because they know the Rockets are trying to unload him.
Considering that, here are some teams that the Rockets may be able to make a favorable deal with.
Sacramento Kings: The Rockets could trade Lawson straight up for Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo. While Rondo is no longer the caliber of player he once was, he currently sits as the league leader in assists.
Kings management would be hesitant to let Rondo go, but Kings head coach George Karl would look forward to a trade for Lawson due to his experience in coaching him in Denver. This trade makes sense because Lawson played his best basketball under Karl, and the Rockets have had their eyes on Rondo for years.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Rockets could trade Lawson and Terrence Jones for Mike Conley and Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies. This one is likely a stretch, but hear me out.
Conley is in the last year of his contract with Memphis. At the start of the season, there was chatter that Conley may choose to leave the Grizzlies if they were unable to make a championship run.
With Marc Gasol’s recent injury, Conley’s alleged plans to leave Memphis may be more serious than ever. If that were the case, the Grizzlies would be smart to get a point guard who was once in the same tier as Conley in return. Conley would be a perfect fit for the Rockets with his ability to shoot the three.
Detroit: The Rockets could also trade Ty Lawson straight up for Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons. Both players have showed a lot of potential throughout their careers, but they both have struggled to play their best basketball as of late. Recently there has been a lot of rumors that both players may be moved so it would make sense if they were swapped for one another.
Next: Odds Trade Will Occur
Nov 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) controls the ball as Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Whether or not Lawson will be dealt to any of these teams is hard to predict. It’s tough to imagine, however, that Lawson will continue to wear a Rockets jersey past the trade deadline.
If for some reason the Rockets do not trade Lawson, it will be because other teams show little interest due to his performance this season.
At the moment, the Rockets are the league’s most dissapointing team. If the season were to end today, they would be eligible for a lottery pick. Because they have yet to find a way to play together, look for the Rockets to make dramatic changes to their roster going into the second half of the season.
With the trade deadline around the corner make sure you visit Space City Scoop daily for our trade series. Each day SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.