SACRAMENTO -- Next to Ty Lawson’s name in the box score for Saturday’s Kings 124-119 win over the Wizards read “OUT - Personal Reasons.” Unfortunately for the 28-year-old point guard, that might define his short tenure in Sacramento.
CSN California has confirmed an earlier report from ESPN’s Marc Stein that Lawson missed the team flight out of Las Vegas on Friday. After failed attempts to get to Kentucky, the veteran point guard instead flew to Sacramento where he will meet to discuss his fate with the Kings brass on Sunday.
Lawson joined the Kings this summer on a non-guaranteed one-year deal after a rocky 2015-16 season spent with stops with both the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers. He has impressed throughout training camp, gaining plenty of praise from both coaches and teammate, but that might not be enough to secure his roster spot.
The Kings signed Lawson with the understanding that they would have a zero-tolerance policy with the speedy, but troubled guard. Whether his actions over the last few days is enough to warrant waiving Lawson is unknown at this time.
Sacramento was counting on the former North Carolina Tarheel to start the first eight games of the season while starting point guard Darren Collison serves his NBA suspension for a domestic violence conviction. That plan is now in jeopardy.
With the season just over a week away, the Kings must decide if Lawson, who has a history of personal issues, can hold up his end of the bargain. If not, they have the option to retain veteran guard Jordan Farmar or surf the trade market for another stand in for Collison.
Lawson came to the Kings with career averages of 13.1 points and 6.2 assists per game in seven seasons in the league. But he is coming off a forgettable campaign that saw his numbers dip to 5.7 points and 3.6 assists over 66 games with the Rockets and Pacers.
There was hope that he could rebound this season in Sacramento and help solidify the Kings second unit. But this early stumble places Vlade Divac and his front office group in a tough spot. Lawson’s explanation of the situation and his willingness to adhere to team standards may ultimately decide his fate as an NBA player.