The Houston Rockets are trying to cut their losses from the Ty Lawson trade at the beginning of this season by shopping the point guard to the Utah Jazz and getting something out of it that can help them rescue this season, maybe in the form of Trey Burke.
Lawson, whose $13.2 million salary in the 2016-2017 season is unguaranteed, has failed to blend in with the Rockets, be it as a lineup player or coming off the bench. He is averaging just 6.3 points per game in 23.4 minutes a night, posting his worst per minute numbers throughout his career. He’s shooting just 39.2% from the field, and seems uncomfortable in pretty much every way on the Rockets, from the more off the ball stuff he has to do, the spots they pick from him to shoot from and overall playing on a team that’s reportedly lacking chemistry in damaging ways.
The Jazz are 8th in the West this season, planning on making the playoffs and not taking a dive. But they feel like they need a better option at starting point guard and Burke, who was actually starting for them for most of his first two seasons in the NBA, has turned into a quite explosive scorer at times but strictly off the bench this season, averaging 11.8 points in 23.6 minutes per game. He’s finally shooting over 40% from the field and around 35% from beyond the arc, but the Jazz want someone who can run an offense and Burke is too much of a scorer, not enough of a facilitator.
Burke isn’t bad to have off the bench, but if the Jazz are interested in Lawson or another point guard around the NBA (Raul Neto has been their starter this season, averaging just 6.2 points per game) Burke is probably the player they’re willing to give up. When this season began Dante Exum was projected to be the team’s starting point guard, but he had a season ending injury with the Australian national team, which has been something the Jazz have been able to work around.
It’s interesting to see the two teams helping each other out if this comes to fruition. The Rockets are ninth in the West, half a game behind the Jazz in the playoff race. It won’t be surprising to see both teams stay quite close to each other in a weirdly developing season in the Western conference. If this trade does go through, it might be the move that keeps one team out of the postseason, although with plenty of others in the race, they could both still make it.
It’s rumored that if the Rockets are unable to move Lawson to the Jazz or anyone else by the time the deadline expires they’ll release him.