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NBA trade rumors 2016: Rockets, Jazz discussed Ty Lawson deal, but talks died

Houston would reportedly have received Trey Burke and another player in exchange for the veteran, but talks fell apart on Thursday.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz want another point guard for the stretch run and had discussed acquiring Ty Lawson from the Houston Rockets, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The talks were also reported by the Salt Lake Tribune's Tony Jones, who says Trey Burke would have be part of the package heading back to Houston in the deal. However, the deal is dead, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Rockets were the ones pitching Lawson to Utah, per Stein. Jones reported that the Jazz "have been interested in potentially acquiring Lawson for a few weeks." That nearly indicated there's enough traction on both sides for Lawson to find himself on his third team in the past year. However, the teams decided against it.

Houston added Lawson in a trade with the Nuggets during the offseason hoping that he would solidify a championship core. Instead, the Rockets have imploded and sit ninth in the Western Conference standings. GM Daryl Morey is giving indications he's going to blow up the roster, which could mean deals involving key players like Dwight Howard and Lawson.

Lawson is signed through 2016-17, but agreed during the offseason to turn the final year of his deal into a non-guaranteed salary. That effectively makes him an expiring contract. Burke's rookie contract runs through next season.

Why the Jazz could have acquire Lawson

This is Utah's first chance to make the playoffs in several years. The Jazz are currently eighth in the West with a 26-26 record and have won eight of their past 10. But point guard has remained a position that's eluded the team despite spending first-round picks on Burke and Dante Exum.

Exum is out for the season with an ACL injury and Burke just hasn't quite lived up to expectations after being selected in the lottery. Raul Neto, a 2013 second-round pick out of Brazil, has been the starting point guard this season with Burke getting minutes as the backup. The duo stands out as the key weak point in a lineup that's otherwise very talented with Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert leading the way.

Lawson would have been taking a flier on a veteran who could potentially rise to the occasion and help lead the Jazz to the playoffs. He's not too far removed from being one of the better point guards in the NBA and could be a boost to a team that's depended heavily on Hayward and Burks for playmaking on the wings. And with a non-guaranteed salary next season, Utah can cut him loose over the summer and move on if the deal doesn't pan out.

It could have be the kind of low-risk, high-reward move Utah wants to make. Burke probably isn't going anywhere as a key piece in Utah with Neto emerging and Exum still around. The playoffs are firmly within reach and surely that's a goal for the franchise in what's supposed to be a breakout season. This could have been a deal that helps reach that goal without giving up too much of the future.

Why the Jazz didn't acquire Lawson

He wasn't be the upgrade Utah wanted. Lawson was a speedy, game-changing guard for the Nuggets a few years ago, but he hasn't had nearly the same impact in Houston this season. Over the first 55 games, the Rockets have been better by 7.9 points per 100 possessions with Lawson on the bench.

Lawson has fallen off quickly. The 28-year-old is averaging just 6.3 points and 3.6 assists in 23.4 minutes per game. He's shooting 39 percent from the field and turning the ball over more than ever. While he's still a solid three-point shooter, the rest of his game has quickly become a huge question mark.

Especially defense. Lawson has been one of several Rockets guilty of looking lazy at times on defense this season. Houston's identity on that end of the floor has never quite been found and Lawson has been a culprit in that. For a Jazz team that helps make it name on defense, and often plays Neto over Burke because his size makes him such a more appealing defensive option, Lawson might not be the right fit.

Adding Lawson would have meant giving up a cost-controlled asset in Burke and potentially some other options. Is it worth that for a player who hasn't performed well all season? The Jazz decided it wasn't.