Pacers to sign Ty Lawson and buyout Chase Budinger

Larry Bird narrowed down his choices in the 2009 NBA Draft to two players: Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson. Bird went with Hansbrough, who played four meh seasons with the Pacers, while Lawson was a speed demon for the Denver Nuggets, averaging at least 16 points and 6 assists in each of his final four seasons with the team.

Recently, Bird even admitted that he blew the pick. But Lawson after getting another DUI over last summer, was traded to the Rockets for players, a protected 2016 first round pick, and a 2017 second round pick. Things did not work out for Lawson in Houston. He’s had his worst season as a professional: averaging a measly 5.8 points and 3.4 assists. It’s been such a bad fit that Houston bought Lawson out of his contract, and he is now free to sign with any team.

Now, Larry Bird, who never seems to lose interest in a guy once he becomes a fan of them (tried to trade for George Hill for multiple seasons, went after Chase Budinger when he was a free agent a few years ago), and Ty Lawson are now in serious negotiations according to Shams Charania of Yahoo’s The Vertical.

So, should the Pacers even be interested in the troubled point guard who played so poorly that the Rockets paid him to no longer be on their team? Is it just a low risk, high reward type of move? Or could this backfire in a way similar to the signing of Andrew Bynum and the trade for Evan Turner in 2013-14?

In the cons for Ty Lawson, it mostly comes down to him just playing absolutely terrible basketball this season. His advanced numbers are atrocious: He has a net rating of negative 14 (has never been a net negative previously in his career), his PER is a career low 9.0 (previous low was a 16.4), and his true shooting percentage is a career low 48%. Lawson has in no way looked like the same guy he was in his first six seasons in the league.

In the pros for Ty Lawson, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Most people just figure why not give it a shot? Lawson would only get a vet minimum contract and the Pacers would likely just cut Shayne Whittington, who would probably end up signing with the D-League Mad Ants anyway. (Updated: Pacers have bought out Chase Budinger). It would give the Pacers a veteran option an backup point guard and the new bench would eventually look like this: Ty Lawson, Rodney Stuckey, CJ Miles, Lavoy Allen, and Jordan Hill.

If Lawson can recapture some that speed and playmaking ability, it could make that second unit a fun, entertaining group. He just hasn’t shown anything like that so far this season that it would be reasonable to expect it to happen now.

So, if Larry signs him, cool I guess. Hopefully it won’t be like the Andrew Bynum signing. And if he doesn’t, well that’s probably alright too. Unless Lawson was just an absolutely horrible fit for Houston (he was a pretty terrible fit as an off guard) and just needed a change of scenery, it seems he’s unlikely to make much of a difference for anyone this season.

UPDATE: It looks like when (if) Ty Lawson signs with the Pacers. Chase Budinger will be bought out.


UPDATE: It’s now official, Ty Lawson will be an Indiana Pacer.


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