Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Cuts and Slashes

Oct 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) is introduced before playing against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Ty Lawson (3) is introduced before playing against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Clinging to the eighth seed with 22 games left the Houston Rockets released Ty Lawson which begs the question is the focus the future, taxes or the post season. Today’s Daily Rocket Science dives in to see if the answer is forthcoming.

As I outlined yesterday adding Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets roster was like one of those chemistry class experiments where you pour a substance into another glass beaker and wait for it to explode.

After a season spent waiting for Ty Lawson to either be integrated into the starting line-up or become a viable scoring option the Houston Rockets decided to buy him out of his contract Tuesday, March 1. Once approved by the Association, this buyout will allow Lawson to join another roster potentially to help with their playoff efforts.

As for the timing of Lawson’s release, we are left to ponder why Daryl Morey has decided to release him now. Since the Rockets are still trying to nab a post season berth one would think keeping Lawson on the roster would help with depth and the potential he might eventually fit his role on the team.  This leads me to believe Lawson was released solely for financial purposes. With the Detroit trade falling through, it seems Morey is attempting to clear salary in an effort to get below a certain threshold where tax implications kick in.

And while James Harden never seemed to aggressively try to incorporate Lawson into the Rockets offensive scheme when asked why he didn’t work out Harden simply responded “That’s outta my hands, I have no idea”.  Harden made some other interesting comments that may have fans in H-Town shaking their heads as he said the team is looking for their niche. Perhaps someone failed to mention to the beard they have just 22 games left. The interview in question occurred with USA Today Sports – For the Win

FTW: You guys are hanging around in playoff contention, lurking in that 8th spot in the West. What do you guys need to do to make that push and clinch that playoff spot?

JH: We just need to find our niche for these last twenty games. We need to find out what we do well, and then just do it, do it every single game, and then let the chips fall where they are. We’re confident, we’re positive that we’ll make the playoffs, and we’ll make a run at it.

Pushed to elaborate on what he meant the Beard offered the following:

FTW: What do you mean by niche?

JH: You know, whether it’s defensively, you know, stopping teams and locking them on the defensive end, or trying to outscore teams, or whatever it is. We gotta make sure we’re on the same page and we have the same goal.

On a lighter side, Harden is still extremely popular as this fan proved via a tattoo needle:

A tattoo artist in New Zealand has pulled off a ridiculous James Harden tattoo pic.twitter.com/49Sf7oko89

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 2, 2016

And while some may be shaking their heads over Harden’s apparent lack of desperation regarding the rapidly dwindling schedule, our own Anthony Nguyen offered an intriguing expose on why he still ranks among the best in the NBA:

"Call me crazy but Harden to the Rockets is much like how was to the Suns. And the more I think about it, the closer I become to calling the two almost identical in terms of impact on the game. Keyword: . Steve Nash impact"

Going back to the Ty Lawson buy-out, once the NBA clear him he’ll be able to join a squad and play in the post season. Inevitably there will be speculation on which team could benefit the most. While many will surmise a team looking to make a deep post season run would jump on adding him for the purposes of depth, but could the New York Knicks be the squad who snatch him up just to get a feel for how he’d work within their current framework to determine if they want to sign him to a longer term deal this off season. Dime Magazine offers why it’s not a great fit:

"Lawson should listen to his friend. The Knicks may seem like an attractive destination, with the chance to play alongside Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Arron Afflalo (whom Lawson was close with during their time together in Denver), but it would do little to revive his career. Even if Kurt Rambis isn’t the coach next year, Phil Jackson is dedicated to running the Triangle offense, which plays to very few of Lawson’s strengths. In the Triangle, the point guard is mainly relegated to a stand-still shooter, running very few pick and rolls or dribble penetrations, both of which Lawson excels at. While Ty is a good shooter, he’s also a reluctant one, preferring to set up others rather than look for his own shot."

More from Space City Scoop

And though this comes on the heels of trade deadline passing by and of course the Rockets and Morey claiming they never wanted to get rid of Dwight Howard. Dan Devine of Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie reports Howard himself was the person who confirmed the Milwaukee Bucks were the team most aggressively pursuing him and it was almost a done deal:

"“ During Monday’s broadcast of the Rockets’ visit to Milwaukee, Bucks play-by-play man Gus Johnson related a pre-game conversation he’d had with Howard during which the eight-time All-Star told him, “I wanted to come to Milwaukee during the trade deadline. I would have come, but they wanted me to sign an extension."

In what has become typical fodder in the media to try to figure out what’s wrong with the Rockets with so few games remaining perhaps the focus has now shifted as Fox declares the Houston Rockets as the biggest mess in the NBA:

Say what you will about Vivek Ranadive and the failure that is the Kings, but no one expected much better from them this year. The Clippers might be a soap opera, but they’re still 39-20. The Bucks and Pelicans —€” well, they were never supposed to compete for a championship this year.

No, the biggest mess in the NBA is in Houston, and it seems no one is sure how to clean it up.

So, that’s your Daily Rocket Science. Check out the pregame report later followed by player grades and be sure to stay with us for all things Houston Rockets as we cover all the news beginning each day with the Daily Rocket Science.

Next: Is Harden the Rockets Nash?

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