Ty Lawson: A team will ‘get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth,’ misconception that I drink too much

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A year ago, Ty Lawson allowed his guaranteed $13,213,482 salary for the upcoming season to become fully unguaranteed.

Now, after the Rockets waived him, Lawson is a free agent who won’t recoup much of the money he sacrificed.

Not only does Lawson have the stain of two DUIs in a six-month period, he’s coming off a miserable season — including a stint with the Pacers — on the court.

So, he’s defending himself.

Lawson, in a Q&A with Marc Spears of ESPN:

Do you feel like you’re a sleeper free agent?

I think so. At this point, I am not going to say they are going to get me for cheap. But they’re going to get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth … I feel like I’m overlooked in free agency.

What do you say to prospective teams when they ask you about your alcohol problems?

Things happened in the media because I drank and drove. But I’m not a person out here like everyone thinks that I’m drunk all day. No, I don’t do that. A lot of my friends, we go out and celebrate. But I’m not that person in the morning getting drunk before practice. I think there is a big misconception about what everybody thinks. That’s what I basically tell them. I keep it honest.

Did you purposely refrain from doing certain things or going to certain places?

Not really. I wouldn’t be out late at night or anything like that. That would give people any type of excuse. I pretty much did the same things I always do. The times I got in trouble, I was caught drinking and driving. I don’t drive anymore or do anything irresponsible. Mostly, I’ve been just staying in and staying out of the spotlight.

Lawson really understates the issue with drinking and driving by pinning it on the media. The problem isn’t negative news reports. The problem is Lawson repeatedly putting bystanders in harm’s way while operating a few thousand pounds of machinery he’s too impaired to properly control. He’s lucky nothing worse happened.

Hopefully, Lawson has fixed his problem. It’s encouraging that he says he no longer drives.

But there’s a pattern of him sounding like he’s not taking responsibility.

The media didn’t manufacture the story of Lawson smelling of alcohol at practice, either. Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said it on the record.

If all that weren’t enough, Lawson stunk on the court last season. Six previous seasons of production might buy him benefit of the doubt — but only so much, especially with his DUIs.

Lawson bet on himself last summer and lost. At this point the only question is how much. Lawson is advocating for himself to minimize that number, but I don’t think he’s doing a great job. Maybe it’s just too big of a challenge.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.