The Rockets Stole Ty Lawson And Now The West Is Going To Be Even More Of A Bloodbath Next Year
The Rockets traded for troubled point guard Ty Lawson last night, sending the Nuggets of boatload of basically nothing for a guy who is a borderline All-Star when he's actually playing basketball. Lawson cratered his value last week when he was arrested for his fourth DUI as an NBA player, but the Rockets swooped in to strengthen their title-contending roster and turn the West into even more of a bloodbath than it was previously.
Here are the terms of the trade, via Adrian Wojnarowski:
Houston will send Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver, sources said. Along with Lawson, the Nuggets will send a 2017 second-round pick to Houston.
That's essentially Nick Johnson and a first rounder for Lawson. The Nuggets were desperate to get something for Lawson, and seemed to jump at the first offer that wasn't "Um... nothing?" from another team.
But despite most teams not wanting to give up much to land Lawson, the Rockets were smart to take the plunge themselves. First of all, what are things like "assets" to Daryl Morey? Morey has made a GM career out of stockpiling things like "shitty players on small contracts" and "picks" and flipping them for monster players, like James Harden. This is what he does.
Secondly, and most importantly, Houston may be one of the best possible fits for Lawson in terms of turning his life around. One DUI can be, at best, a terrible mistake. Four of them is a problem. The guy is clearly incapable of making good decisions in this regard. Luckily for him, the Rockets have John Lucas:
ESPN sources say Rockets will ask Houston-based John Lucas to provide off-court counsel to Ty Lawson if Lawson (two DUIs in 2015) open to it
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 20, 2015
Lucas is known for being a mentor to big names -- he was most recently in the news for helping counsel DeAndre Jordan after the bit man wavered (and eventually faltered) in his commitment to the Mavericks. While some may have issue with the way that saga in particular worked out, Lucas may be the perfect guy for helping Lawson get back on track.
And if he does? The Rockets will trot out a starting lineup of Ty Lawson, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Donatas Motiejūnas and Dwight Howard. The offensive firepower alone will be enough to get the Rockets back to the playoffs -- though their backcourt defense will be a glaring weakness. On the other hand, their bench now features Patrick Beverley, a starting-caliber point guard who is also a lockdown defender.
The Nuggets were going to be a dumpster fire this season anyway. By shuttling off their best player to an elite team, the power balance in the West (and the league in general) continues to skew. The West now sports the Warriors (NBA champions), the Rockets (upgraded), the Thunder (coming off an injury-plagued season), the Spurs (massively upgraded with LaMarcus Aldridge), the Clippers (a massively upgraded bench -- their biggest weakness), the Grizzlies (still good), the Mavericks (maybe still good?), and a number of fringe playoff contenders that will only be better this year including the Pelicans, Jazz, Suns and maybe even the Timberwolves.
That's 10 or 11 teams worthy of playoff spots. Good luck to anyone playing in the West this year -- you're going to need it.
Photo via Getty
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