Just paperwork left on Ty Lawson-Rockets, but buyout agreed upon and will be finalized today, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) March 1, 2016
Ty Lawson spent six years with the Nuggets, after being drafted in the 2009 draft from the University of North Carolina. The pint-sized point guard became the full-time point guard in his third season. With George Karl, Lawson was a consistent threat to put up 16 and 7 per game, constantly using his speed to break down defenses while running an up-tempo offense.
After Karl left, Lawson became more of a focal point of the offense. With Brian Shaw challenging Lawson to take a larger role on offense, he had career-best numbers across the board, averaging 17.6 points per game and 8.8 assists.
In Lawson's second year under Shaw, he began to have off-court problems that affected his performance on the court. Lawson was arrested twice on suspicion of drunken driving, and failed to return to Denver on-time after the All-Star break.
The Nuggets hired Michael Malone to fill the head coach position in the summer of 2015, and shortly after drafted Emmanuel Mudiay. The front office was supportive of the idea of playing Lawson and Mudiay together, but behind the scenes, orchestrated a trade of the troubled point guard to the Houston Rockets. Lawson was moved to the Rockets in exchange for a protected 2016 first round pick, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, and Kostas Papanikolaou.
Prigioni, Dorsey, Johnson, and Papanikolaou have all been waived by the Nuggets, and the Rockets are on the brink of missing the playoffs, which would mean the pick they sent in the trade would remain in Houston due to protections. The trade was considered a win for the Rockets, and many picked them to contend for a spot in the Western Conference finals after a trip there the year prior.
Success didn't come easy for the Rockets, who began the season poorly and fired their head coach, Kevin McHale. J.B. Bickerstaff has been unable to lead the Rockets to more success, and Lawson is playing the least minutes per game since his rookie season.
Lawson's final game with the Rockets won't be remembered by many - about six minutes of gametime, with one missed 3-point attempt, a steal, an assist, one turnover, and nothing else.
The potential impact Lawson could make on the Rockets bench? On the first day of March, Daryl Morey decided his team would be better off without Lawson around any longer.
It's a sad outcome to what was an exciting player, and one that should be remembered for the good he achieved while a member of the Denver Nuggets. I wish him the best in his next endeavor, and hope that he is able to find peace and solace from whatever storms are surrounding him.