HOUSTON (AP) — Rockets general manager Daryl Morey knows adding Ty Lawson is a risky move. He believes the possible reward is worth that risk.
Lawson was acquired in a trade with the Denver Nuggets on Monday, giving the Rockets needed depth at point guard, though he is currently dealing with off-court issues. He entered a 30-day residential treatment program last week after his second DUI arrest.
Morey noted there are always risks with players, whether it’s concerns like Lawson’s or with injuries or other issues.
"When you’re trying to be the best team out of 30 you’ve got to risk all over the place," he said.
Morey vowed that the team will help him stay on track after he leaves the treatment program.
"Through our conversations with him we feel confident that he’s getting the help he needs," Morey said.
The Nuggets receive a lottery protected first-round pick in 2016 and cash considerations along with Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni and Joey Dorsey in the deal that also sends a 2017 second-round pick to Houston.
Lawson was a first-round pick by the Timberwolves in 2009 before being traded to the Nuggets that day. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 assists in his six-year career with Denver. The 27-year-old started a career-high 75 games last season and averaged 15.2 points and a career-best 9.6 assists.
Morey believes Lawson’s threat as a scorer will help take some pressure off superstar James Harden, who finished second in MVP voting in 2015.
"He’s one of the best playmakers in the league," Morey said of Lawson. "We struggled against teams that would really load up on James and we feel like that will be a lot more difficult for teams to do that now."
Lawson is friendly with Harden, Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza and indicated to the Nuggets that Houston was a place he would like to play.
None of the four players the Rockets gave up were key members of last year’s squad that reached the Western Conference finals before being eliminated by Golden State. Papanikolaou averaged 4.2 points in 43 games in the regular season last year, but played just 21 minutes in the postseason, and Johnson, another rookie, averaged only 1.3 points in the playoffs.
The 38-year-old Prigioni backed up Jason Terry late in the season after Beverley suffered a season-ending injury, but his contribution was minimal and he averaged only 3.1 points in the playoffs. Denver waived him just after the trade was announced.
Dorsey appeared in 69 games in the regular season and helped fill in when Dwight Howard was out by starting 17 games. But he fell out of favor with the team late in the season and played just 13 minutes in the playoffs as the Rockets gave rookie Clint Capela his spot in the rotation.