Kurt Helin

Reports: Rockets reach buyout deal with Ty Lawson

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Before the season, Ty Lawson was seen as the low-risk move that would put the Houston Rockets in the NBA elite.

It’s been nowhere near that. Lawson couldn’t mesh with James Harden (two guys who wanted the ball in their hands, and not to set up Dwight Howard), and even when platooned Lawson was not a spark for the Houston second unit. Lawson with the Rockets ended up being a disaster, one of several that has the team struggling to even make the playoffs. It was time to part ways, even if Lawson tried to say publicly that’s not what he wanted.

Tuesday, the Rockets and Lawson have agreed to terms of a buyout, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by other sources.

After an initial apprehension to parting with Lawson after the NBA trade deadline, the Rockets will use the savings from the buyout to clear salary-cap space and likely sign another guard, league sources said…

Lawson has no predetermined post-buyout destination, but would be eligible for a new team’s playoff roster because he met the league’s March 1 waiver deadline.

Lawson will clear waivers then become a free agent.

Some team in need of a point guard depth — or looking for a test run with him before the summer — will take a flyer on Lawson on a minimum deal. That could include the Knicks, but Lawson likely would rather land on a team headed to the postseason.  Lawson averaged 5.8 points shooting below 40 percent, plus 3.4 assists per game this season in dwindling minutes.

Rajon Rondo, Kings earn back-to-back delay of games inbounding ball (VIDEO)


You don’t see that every day.

The Kings had confusion trying to inbound the ball for a final shot at the end of the first half against Oklahoma City Monday night, Rajon Rondo tried to delay things, and the result was back-to-back delay of game penalties. That gave the Thunder two free throws (because the Kings had a previous delay of game call from the first quarter), which took the Thunder lead from six to eight at the half.

After the game, Rondo refused to comment. George Karl described Rondo not taking the ball as him being stubborn, and added the referee Haywoode Workman was a little stubborn, and the result was delays of game penalties. Rondo got another one in the fourth quarter for refusing to accept the ball from an official.

Just another day in Sacramento.

Michael Beasley named Chinese League MVP


There is almost no good defense played in the Chinese Basketball Association — which makes it pretty much ideal for someone like Michael Beasley.

Beasley averaged 31.9 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, plus shot better than 40 percent from three leading the Shandong Golden Stars back to the playoffs (where they were swept out in the first round by the Guangdong Southern Tigers). Beasley was named to the Chinese League All-Star team and for the second straight year won the MVP of that game.

In a couple of weeks, his contract will be up and Beasley can return to an NBA team for the stretch run and the playoffs. There are reportedly multiple teams interested.

It should be noted the Chinese Basketball Association has dual MVPs, one for a foreign player (won by Beasley), and one for a domestic player. Former NBA player Yi Jianlian was named the Chinese MVP.

Report: Chandler Parsons may consider return to Orlando this summer


Chandler Parsons is going to opt out of the $16 million he can make next season as a Maverick and become an unrestricted free agent. He’d be foolish not to. First, he’s going to get a raise from $16 million considering the massive spike in the salary cap, how well Parsons has played of late, and the thin market for top free agents this summer. Second, he can lock up that higher sum for four years at least, rather than just one.

The only question is, can the Dallas Mavericks re-sign Parsons?

The franchise is concerned that Orlando and other teams could become players in the Parsons’ sweepstakes, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Don’t assume Parsons will automatically re-sign with the Mavs this summer after he opts out of the final season of his three-year, $46 million contract — which is a virtual certainty with the salary cap soaring — despite owner Mark Cuban’s making it clear he is committed to keeping Parsons as a foundation piece…

Those close to the situation consider his hometown Magic to be the biggest threat to steal Parsons from the Mavs. With its pre-deadline dealing, Orlando cleared enough cap space to sign two players to max contracts. Sources anticipate that the Magic will aggressively pursue Parsons….

The list of teams interested in Parsons will be long, with sources expecting the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Magic to be among Parsons’ suitors. If Durant leaves Oklahoma City, add the Thunder to the list, with a potential reunion with Parsons’ coach at Florida, Billy Donovan.

Parsons’ camp says in this article and will say this summer it’s about the fit and the opportunity. We all know it’s about the money, but if he draws multiple max contract offers (a real possibility), then other factors come into play.

Dallas is going to recruit him (which is a nice change for Parsons, who has become a go-to recruiter during the summer). Orlando’s draw is they will have a nice young core of players and the cap space for two max free agents — Al Horford is rumored to be their top target. Add Horford and Parsons to Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier, and that’s a fascinating team out East.

The bottom line is Parsons will have options outside Dallas.

As expected, Kyrie Irving blows off report he wants out of Cleveland

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You knew this was coming.

The minute a report surfaced Monday — from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on First Take — that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, you knew he would deny the rumor. He did that to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with more of a dismissal of the idea than an outright denial.

“There’s nothing to really address,” Irving said. “Obviously there’s going to be some misunderstandings, it’s part of being on a team. For me, as a maturing young player in this league, I know what we have and the opportunity we have in order to be something special. My communication is open with all of my teammates, just knowing what’s going on and how I feel about things….

“For me, all that other stuff, what everyone is going to say, they’re going to pick one player and it’s going to change every single week,” Irving said. “When they think that we’re down and out, they’re going to choose one player. For me, it has no effect on my life or what’s going on. It’s all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland.”

Two quick thoughts. First, it’s not easy for Irving or anyone else to play next to LeBron James. He can be demanding, he can dominate the ball, and he’s going to push players he believes can be elite. Not that any of those things are bad, but it doesn’t make it easy to play with LeBron. No doubt LeBron and Irving have clashed at times, probably more than we realize.

Second, it’s all moot. Irving is in the first year of a five-year contract extension, and he is a cornerstone of the franchise — he’s not going anywhere. LeBron isn’t going anywhere. Those two need to figure out how to get along. And Irving does need to work on sharing the ball more getting teammates set up.

Can we all just move on… until the Kevin Love trade rumors kick up again this summer.