Ty Lawson of the Houston Rockets and Kevin Martin of the Minnesota Timberwolves are currently among the names that are circulating the NBA rumor mill that may not be with their teams much longer.
The Houston Rockets are a mess, which may be why they are contemplating buying out the contract of the point guard.
The Rockets, a surprise Western Conference participant a year ago, are struggling to hold onto the eighth spot in this year’s playoff race. Houston (29-29) is just 4-6 in its last 10 games and is just a half-game clear of ninth-place and four games in front of the Sacramento Kings.
Houston is fifth in the league in scoring but they are having trouble major problems defending, allowing 106.8 points a game (27th), and on the boards where they rank 22nd. Buying out Lawson, who is still due $3.2 million of his $12.404 million 2015-16 salary according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, would free up some cap space to allow the Rockets to pursue another player.
Houston is currently only $524K to spend beneath their hard cap and can’t spend beyond that much because the team used more than the 3.376 million taxpayer’s limit on the mid-level exception to sign rookie Montrezl Harrell and free agent K.J. McDaniels this offseason. Lawson will likely have to give back a portion of his salary in order to obtain his release from Houston.
Lawson is in the midst of the worst season of his career. The 28-year-old is averaging 6.0 points, 3.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 22.8 minutes of action. He is also shooting a career-worst 38.9 percent from the field along with 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Houston did attempt to trade Lawson at the trade deadline, but reportedly did not find a deal to its liking. The Rockets are said to be interested, as The Inquisitr previously reported, in former Brooklyn Net Joe Johnson, but that doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility with several other potential suitors having more money to spend. Plus, Calvin Watkins of ESPN tweeted that Houston would more likely be interested in a defensive minded power forward than Johnson anyways.
If Rockets make a move it will be more about finding a defensive power forward if anything else. Don't expect Joe Johnson signing.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) February 25, 2016
Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Timberwolves and Martin were in advanced discussions regarding a potential buyout last night but nothing has occurred yet. The Wolves bought out the contract of veteran point guard Andre Miller yesterday.
Kevin Martin and the Timberwolves in advanced buyout negotiations to make him free agent by playoff-eligibility deadline, league sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 26, 2016
Martin is earning $7.085 million this year and has a player option for next season, which Wojnarowski stated scared some teams off from trading for the 33-year old veteran prior to the trade deadline.
Martin’s minutes have declined over the last four games, as he has seen no more than 14 minutes of action and reached double figures just once during that stretch. For the season, the 6-foot-7 wing is averaging 10.6 points along and shooting 37.7 percent from the floor as well as 36.9 percent from beyond the arc in 39 games.
Players need to be waived by March 1 in order to be eligible to participate in the playoffs this year.
So, which playoff teams would be interested in Lawson?
More than likely several playoff teams will be interested in both players.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been linked to Martin when it was first rumored that he would likely be bought out and it is more of a possibility if they aren’t able to secure Johnson’s services. Martin is a very similar player to Johnson and more importantly to the Cavs is that he can knock down open three-pointers.
Cleveland will also likely interested in both Miller and Lawson. The Cavs would probably prefer Lawson as he is speedy which would be a perfect fit for Tyronn Lue’s uptempo style. Cleveland has two open roster spots.
Miami is reportedly the leaders for Johnson’s services but they need help at point guard so Lawson and Miller are possibilities. The Heat could also pursue Martin if they don’t win the Johnson sweepstakes.
Toronto, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Houston, and Dallas are other potential suitors for Martin, depending on Johnson’s decision. Toronto, Charlotte and Detroit would have to release a player to be able sign another player.
Update: ESPN Marc Stein is reporting that the San Antonio Spurs are emerging as favorites for Martin’s services, if he is bought out.
ESPN sources say buyout talks continue for Minnesota's Kevin Martin, with San Antonio emerging as the favorite to land him if deal is struck— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 27, 2016
Indiana and Indiana are also possibilities for Lawson or Miller.
Update: Andre Miller will reportedly sign with San Antonio, according to ESPN.
Other non-playoff teams could be interested in Martin, Lawson and Miller.
[AP Photo/Rick Scuteri]