Ty Lawson claimed the Sacramento Kings’ last available roster spot Monday after the team announced the release of fellow guards Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins.
Lawson won the duel for the Kings’ 15th roster spot and is expected to open the season as the stand-in point guard for suspended Sacramento starter Darren Collison, despite the fact Lawson showed up late for one morning shootaround and missed a team flight the following day earlier this month.
New Kings coach Dave Joerger has been a big backer of Lawson, insisting in recent days that there is “no situation” with Lawson and repeatedly praising the veteran guard’s play throughout the preseason.
Lawson was summoned to meet with club officials after missing a team flight from Las Vegas to Kentucky for a recent exhibition game in Lexington, but Kings general manager Vlade Divac ultimately told local reporters that the team was satisfied with Lawson’s explanation that a “personal issue” caused him to miss the flight.
“We handle it inside [the] house,” Divac said after the meeting with Lawson. “He got the message, and we move forward.”
The Kings signed Lawson, 28, in late August to a one-year minimum deal that was non-guaranteed, hopeful that he would seize the opportunity to resurrect his career and fill a void in their backcourt.
Sacramento will be forced to play its first eight regular-season games without Collison, who received that punishment from the league after a misdemeanor conviction for domestic assault. The Kings signed Lawson only after considerable internal deliberation given the veteran guard’s history of legal woes, which include four previous arrests for driving under the influence.
The Kings had also recently signed Farmar, who played in Memphis last season under Joerger, as a potential fill-in for Collison. Cousins, who is not related to Kings star big man DeMarcus Cousins, was a second-round pick in June, taken by Sacramento with the No. 59 overall selection.
After struggling last season in stints with Houston and Indiana, Lawson told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears in a July interview: “It would be big to be back to my old self again. Also, it’s not for just me, it’s for my parents. They have had a hard time seeing what I’ve been going through. I know they hear the little comments at NBA games. To make them proud again would mean the world to me.”