Yahoo Sports has reported that Ty Lawson, point guard for the Denver Nuggets, has been traded to the Houston Rockets. Lawson was a first-round pick by the Timberwolves in 2009 and was traded to the Nuggets that day. In his six-year career with Denver, he averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 assists. Last season, he started 75 games, a career high, and averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists, another career best.
Lawson indicated to the Nuggets that Houston was a place he would like to play. Lawson is already friendly with Rockets superstar James Harden, as well as Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza. Of Lawson, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said, “He’s one of the best playmakers in the league. We struggled against teams that would really load up on James [Harden] and we feel like that will be a lot more difficult for teams to do that now.”
The 27-year-old Lawson has been mostly silent as he has dealt with recent off-court issues affecting his life, including entering a 30-day residential treatment program after his second DUI arrest. However, Morey knows that the team needs depth at point guard and views the trade as the possible reward is worth the risk. Morey said, “Through our conversations with him we feel confident that he’s getting the help he needs.” He also said that the team would be there to help him stay on track after he leaves the treatment program.
Lawson is a good player and a good addition to any roster, so long as he gets his personal life in order. Last year, the Rockets reached the Western Conference finals before being eliminated by the Golden State Warriors. With Lawson on the team, they will become even more formidable.
In return for Lawson, the Nuggets gained Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni and Joey Dorsey, a lottery protected first-round pick in 2016, and cash considerations. The deal also sends a 2017 second-round pick to Houston. Papanikolaou averaged 4.2 points in 43 games in the regular season last year. Dorsey appeared in 69 games in the regular season but played just 13 minutes in the playoffs. Prigioni averaged only 3.1 points in the playoffs and Johnson averaged only 1.3 points in the playoffs.