Someone put sugar in the Rockets’ gas tank from the beginning, and it sputtered somewhere before it even got out of the atmosphere. Ty Lawson reached a buyout settlement Monday, meaning a productive point guard is on the market late in the season free to go where he wants. Lawson is not the easiest piece of lamb on the rack, having off-court issues galore, but he still could be useful and helpful in the right situation. An immature Houston team with shoddy leadership and an in-season coaching change was not the place. So … where is? Here are three options, in order of how much sense they make.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
Eventually, the miles on Chris Paul are going to catch up. He’s third on the team in average minutes played per game, and is really the only viable point guard option, as evidenced by Blake Griffin being second on the team in assists per game. That is nearly half of what Paul is putting in on an average night (5.0 to 9.6). It’d behoove the Clips, if they have designs on making any sort of playoff run, to have another body who can run the offense, provide a bench spark to their eternally shallow second unit, and ideally, take minutes off of Paul’s work load. On top of that, it’s a team with immense veteran leadership, with a proven champion who doesn’t put up with much in Paul Pierce on the roster, and a title-winning coach in Doc Rivers scowling the sidelines. Lawson, if nothing else, would be around stability in that sense.
2. Miami Heat
Like the Clippers, they too now have only one true point guard on the roster in Goran Dragic. Like the Clippers, they too have a veteran locker room capable of putting the thumb down on immaturity and crap and setting an example that Lawson can buy into that didn’t exist in Houston. Like the Clippers, they’re in a winning situation, and probably have an even more realistic shot of saying they could get to the Finals and win a title. Unlike the Clippers, they have a deep bench and what seems like an endless pit of money and allure for some reason unbeknownst to man. Maybe Pat Riley really is that good. Either way, the Heat would like to get one more good run going before Dwyane Wade (who’s playing Resurrection-ball these days) exits from the league. Lawson surely would help in all regards.
1. Sacramento Kings
The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, so they say in politics. Not that George Karl is the devil … he’s quite the opposite … but Lawson flourished in his early career under Karl and the coach is clearly amiable to having him back in the fold, evidenced by the off-season flirtations with him coming to Sacto. While the Kings aren’t going playoff dancing this season in all likelihood, this would give Lawson a shot playing for someone who believes in him, plus do so with open opportunity in the future, as Rajon Rondo is set to be a free agent and only Rondo and the houseplants he talks to have any idea where that free agency is trending at this point. Karl is a brilliant coach who clearly has gotten the best from Lawson, who people forget only just over two years ago was averaging over 17 points and 8 assists per game.