Yesterday, we learned that Ty Lawson had missed the team’s flight to Kentucky on Saturday as well as a shootaround while the team was in Vegas. Naturally this led many to assume the worst and those fears seemed realized when video popped up on TMZ today of Lawson, Ben McLemore and Willie Cauley-Stein partying in a Vegas club the night before the Kings left for Kentucky. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but then again, McLemore and Cauley-Stein didn’t miss their flight and Lawson did.
Yet today, the Kings seem to be doing their best to downplay the incident. Dave Joerger mentioned at practice that there was a lot of “incorrect information” out there with regards to Lawson, and Lawson’s agent is saying that Lawson was given permission to miss the flight. That seems incredibly unlikely, especially given Lawson’s prior history with alcoholism. If not an outright lie, it’s at least a stretch of the truth given that we know for a fact Lawson was in a situation the night before in which alcohol was involved. This is the same Ty Lawson that Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke once said that you could smell the alcohol on during practices.
This should be a cut and dry matter. When the Kings signed Ty Lawson this summer, they gave him an unguaranteed contract for a reason. He couldn’t even last a single training camp without an incident, so I’m not sure how the Kings would expect him to last an entire season.
Lawson knew coming into this offseason that this was supposed to be his second chance, and he’s already blown that. The Kings should wish him well and send him on his way and give the 15th roster spot to a player who won’t hurt himself or the team with his actions.
Yet the Kings seem willing to move on from this and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did end up on the final roster.
Vlade Divac said Ty Lawson did miss flight to Kentucky. He said after meeting with him he felt good about him on he team going forward— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) October 17, 2016
If Lawson does make the team and something else does happen, whether it be a DUI or more missed practices, if not worse, that’s on Kings management. Lawson likely needs serious help, and the NBA lifestyle doesn’t seem conducive to getting him back on the right path. This doesn’t seem like a risk that the team should be willing to take and I suspect most franchises wouldn’t.
There’s been a lot of talk around Sacramento about changing the culture of this franchise, but actions speak louder than words.