But dealing the point guard isn’t necessarily Houston’s prerogative.
Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
The key issue: Lawson allowed his $13,213,482 salary for next season to become unguaranteed as a condition of his trade to the Rockets.
That’s a lot of money to miss out on, so it’s understandable Lawson wants to make a last-gasp attempt to play his way into it.
But it’s probably too late.
Lawson is scoring just 5.9 points per game on 32.9% shooting. Houston is 7.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he’s on the court than off. And he has at least one suspension coming and probably another.
Who would trade for him?
Lawson made a huge financial sacrifice to come to Houston. The Rockets probably owe him the courtesy of working with him to explore a trade. It’s not as if he’s helping them, anyway.
But I can’t imagine there’s much of a market. Lawson’s primary value is as a large expiring contract – which means he could get sent to another team that doesn’t play him much, either.
Lawson has gotten just 17 minutes per game in his last dozen games, and that doesn’t even include his DNP-CD. But the way he’s playing, it’s hard to find another team that would definitely play him more. It’s not as if a 38-year-old Jason Terry is a huge obstacle to playing time, but Lawson can’t clear even him.
Unless Lawson plays better, he’ll have a tough time getting a bigger role in Houston or dealt elsewhere. Improved production – not a trade – probably must be Lawson’s next step if he wants a chance of getting his salary guaranteed for next season.