The Houston Rockets are gearing up for a push for the playoffs as the team continues to move around in the standings. Interim head coach JB Bickerstaff is trying to put together the best roster to compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. After deciding Marcus Thornton no longer fits the mold, Ty Lawson might be the next one out despite the point guard not requesting a move.
Lawson has heard all of the rumors surrounding his future with the Houston Rockets, and he is making it clear he wants to stay put, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Lawson was expected to be traded at the league deadline, but the Rockets failed to make a deal for him. Now he could have his contract bought out by the team as it moves forward with Patrick Beverley and Jason Terry as the primary point guard duo. Lawson would like to remain in Houston through the season.
"I'm just happy here," Lawson said. "My role, I'm going to keep playing hard every day. I'd rather stay here. Hoping things turn around, we get into the playoffs and make things happen. Up and downs, it's a little frustrating there's always some types of talks. I'm glad to be here. Just going to play hard and see what happens. I like the city, I like my fans. I mean, I like my teammates. It's a good fit. I want to be here."
The Rockets began discussions about releasing Lawson over the weekend, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. The point guard is averaging career lows with just six points per game on 38.9 shooting percentage. Terry is playing better than he is, while Beverley remains the starter for now. That leaves Lawson on the outside looking in. However, there are limited options to replace Lawson, and the Rockets might be smarter to just keep him for the year.
Houston is sitting in the eighth spot in the Western Conference and needs to find ways to make up ground in the standings. Part of that could come from Lawson helping out while players like Josh Smith look to get out of their slumps. The small forward is shooting 19.6 percent in his last eight games and is now at risk of getting moved from the starting lineup while he aims to contribute in other ways on the court.
"It happens," said Smith, via the Houston Chronicle. "I hate that it happens at this point. I just have to keep working through it, keep working hard, coming in the gym, practicing the same routines and eventually you'll work yourself out of this slump."
The Rockets might think getting rid of Lawson helps their case for the playoffs. However, it is clear they have plenty of other issues that could stand in the way of getting to the postseason.