Ty Lawson, the Kings’ new Rondo for 2016-17?
After spending nearly two months searching for a replacement for the recently departed Rajon Rondo, the Sacramento Kings may have finally settled on a point guard to help out presumed starter Darren Collison. Ty Lawson, the much maligned former Denver Nugget star has signed a one-year non-guaranteed training camp invite with the Kings that would pay him just $980,431.
How the mighty have fallen, just two seasons ago, Lawson Was wrapping up his sixth season with the Nuggets averaging 15.2 points and 9.6 assists. On the court, he was considered one of the league’s top PGs, but off the court, he was imploding. Reports of heavy alcoholism culminating into two DUIs in the same year abruptly ended his career in Denver. He was shipped to Houston during the off-season and later waived mid-season by the Rockets for being completely inept when playing alongside star James Harden.
The 28-year-old former UNC star was picked up by the Indiana Pacers to play out the remainder of the 2015-16 season, but didn’t show any signs of, well anything.
So we come to August 2016. Lawson, who had originally hoped he could cash in on the big free-agent TV windfall, was quickly realizing that he had pretty much blown his opportunity and may be out of the league. But here come the Sacramento kings. The team that revived the career of the once outcast Rajon Rondo was ready to do it all over again. Sigh.
Is there a winner here? Kind of. Lawson has a final chance to show the NBA that he can still play and Sacramento is probably the only team willing to give him 20+ minutes a game to prove it. The Kings are so shallow at PG again that their hand has been forced. The seven-year veteran can pad his numbers, regardless of any benefit to the team in hopes of getting a long-term deal with another team next season. Kind of like Rondo did, right?
Can Sacramento win here? Kind of. General Manager Vlade Divac realized once again that the Kings have no free-agent power as the team was repeatedly passed over by all top-tier FA prospects this past summer. After missing out on Kris Dunn in the draft and feeling none of the other PGs on the board were worthy, Sacramento struck out again.
Renting Lawson for one season is nothing more than a stop-gap move that will provide maximum flexibility next season. The team will be one of only a handful of NBA franchises with any FA money next summer and there are quite a few top tier players hitting the open market. Perhaps Vlade believes the fortunes will finally turn for this organization?
Regardless, the signing of Ty shouldn’t get anyone in Sacramento very excited. He will never be the player he once was in Denver, but could be serviceable as a backup to a point guard in Collison that should be a backup himself. And that should tell you everything you need to know.
Or, just maybe...