Ty Lawson’s frustrating NBA career took another hit last week, when the Sacramento Kings guard was reportedly late to a team flight hours after missing a team shootaround. In what could be related news, the Kings were docked in Las Vegas at the time, following an exhibition game.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported over the weekend that the Kings were due to meet with their reserve point guard, who has a history of off the court trouble, in the wake of his misstep:
Sources told ESPN.com that Lawson was late to a Kings shootaround in Las Vegas earlier this week, then missed the team’s trip east before Saturday night’s Sacramento/Washington preseason game at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.
The Kings attributed Lawson’s absence from the lineup in Lexington to “personal reasons.” He has since returned to Sacramento, sources said, and faces an uncertain future with his new team after the week’s events.
Lawson’s agent, Happy Walters, couldn’t be immediately reached Sunday.
With starting point guard Darren Collison set to miss the first eight games of the season in the wake of the NBA suspension he took in following his plea agreement following a domestic violence arrest, the Kings have added both Lawson and veteran Jordan Farmar to the roster as point guard relief. Both are working on unguaranteed contracts, though, with Lawson contributing 11 points, five assists and five turnovers in 42 minutes of total play spread out over two contests.
Lawson is a clear potential and talent upgrade over Farmar, who is a year older, but Jordan has also played sound basketball during the exhibition schedule while not managing to miss any team practices or flights.
Better yet, Jordan Farmar doesn’t come to the figurative check-in point with the same amount of baggage as Ty Lawson.
The former Nuggets, Rockets and Pacers guard has been arrested three times for driving under the influence, including twice in one year, and his departure from the Denver Nuggets encouraged team executives to go on record regarding what could be a problem with alcohol. There have been other poor judgments along the way, though it should be noted that his fallout last season in Houston had more to do with bad basketball chemistry than it did off the court struggles.
Though less severe and frightening than Lawson’s past troubles, it should be noted that the Kings are one giant “off the court struggle” at this point.
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Team owner Vivek Ranadive’s embarrassing lengthy interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick once again made the team a bit of a laughingstock in NBA circles. More pressing to former members of the club – most notably former longtime general manager Geoff Petrie (whose up-and-down career with the Kings looks more and more passable by the day, in light of the franchise’s work in the years since his dismissal) – was Ranadive’s assertion that he was working in a “ghost town” upon his first few weeks as club owner.
Responding to Ranadive’s accusation that both Petrie and former coach Keith Smart left the club high and dry in the pre-NBA draft days following their firings, Petrie checked in with Deadspin’s Kevin Draper to set the record straight.
After calling Ranadive’s interview “a sophomoric attempt at revisionist history,” based around “an ugly lie” regarding Petrie’s removal and the hiring of coach Michael Malone without a GM in place, Petrie went on:
I thought it was kind of a rambling attempt at revisionist history. A lot of what he said doesn’t really … if you look back on the three-and-a-half years that he’s been the managing owner, it doesn’t really fit with a lot of the history. The main reason I reached out, [the interview] is long and covered a lot of territory, but when it comes to some of the representations about myself and Keith Smart and the management group that was there at that time, it was basically totally untrue, what was represented there.
Later in the interview, Petrie referred to Vivek Ranadive as “a very arrogant and dismissive little chap.”
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In response, Ranadive acted as he should have. Via the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin:
“I wanted to sincerely apologize to Geoff Petrie and his team,” the owner began, speaking softly. “I meant no disrespect. I have the utmost respect for what they have done for the franchise and what they have accomplished. I fully understand that it’s a huge privilege to own a basketball team, and as chairman of the ownership, the buck stops with me. I accept responsibility for everything. All the mistakes are my mistakes.”
This month’s latest mistake, reportedly, is Ty Lawson’s. TMZ, on Monday, obtained a clip of Lawson and teammates Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore having fun prior to the missed shootaround and flight; a shootaround and flight that McLemore and Cauley-Stein managed to make.
In his prime at age 28, Lawson’s career averages of 13.1 points and 6.2 assists in just 30 minutes a game should probably vault him to the lead point guard position. If the Kings overcorrect and decide that his non-guaranteed contract isn’t worth the off-court hassle, though, Lawson will be looking for his fifth team in a year and a half.
Here’s hoping that whatever happened in Las Vegas last week was merely a blip, and not something related in any way to the struggles Lawson has clearly found it difficult to work through so far in his pockmarked NBA career.
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