The Houston Rockets have acquired Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson in a trade, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will pair Lawson with James Harden in a revamped Houston backcourt. ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were interested bidders for Lawson, but the Nuggets liked the offer from the Rockets better.
Houston will reportedly send a collective of little-used reserves -- Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Nick Johnson and Joey Dorsey -- and a protected 2016 first-round pick to Denver. Denver is sending a 2017 second-round pick with Lawson, according to Wojnarowski.
Prigioni will be waived by the Nuggets, according to TNT's David Aldridge. Sources told Wojnarowski that Prigioni is guaranteed just $440,000 of his roughly $1.7 million base salary for the 2015-16 season if he is waived by Monday.
As a condition to the trade, the Rockets made Lawson's 2016-17 salary fully unguaranteed, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe.
One more tidbit: Sources say Lawson has agreed as condition of trade to make the final year of his contract -- 2016-17 -- non-guaranteed.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 20, 2015
That gives Houston the option of keeping Lawson at his current set salary for 16-17 if things work out, or letting him walk if they don't.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 20, 2015
Lawson gives the Rockets another ball-handler to pair with Harden, something the Rockets' All-Star has desperately wanted. Harden carried a heavy playmaking load last year with Patrick Beverley often injured and Chandler Parsons off to the Dallas Mavericks. Lawson is a speedy penetrating guard who will push the tempo and allow Harden to rest more often. Lawson also slides Beverley into a reserve role, where his limitations won't be as exposed.
But Lawson's stock has fallen tremendously after he was arrested for a DUI on Tuesday, his second DUI arrest in six months. A Denver court ordered Lawson to check into a rehab center for 30 days, with supervised check-ups required thereafter. That was at a hearing for his first DUI -- he could receive further punishment for his second arrest. Lawson will be a major upgrade for Houston at a minimal cost if he can overcome these problems, but they are real.
They were real enough for the Nuggets to move on despite receiving few rotation players in return. The Nuggets rejected significant offers for Lawson at last year's trade deadline and this year's NBA Draft, but changed their tune after Lawson's second DUI and the promising play of first-round pick Emmanuel Mudiay at the NBA Summer League. The Nuggets clearly didn't want Lawson around Mudiay, who told reporters in Las Vegas that he had not spoken to Lawson since being drafted. Mudiay will now take the reins for Mike Malone's club from Day 1.
SB Nation presents: The evolution of the point guard position, with Ty Lawson