SACRAMENTO -- When the media doors opened to the Kings practice facility at the new Golden 1 Center Monday afternoon, point guard Ty Lawson was on the floor with his teammates. It’s been a rocky 72 hours for the 28-year-old after he missed a team flight to Kentucky, but he’s survived for the moment and will remain part of the Kings roster.
“Ty had a personal issue and that stuff is non-basketball related,” coach Dave Joerger said.
“There is no situation,” Joerger continued. “It’s in my hands. The decisions that were made of the plane and all that stuff, that’s on me. It’s a personal issue, I think has been very inaccurately reported.”
Lawson, who has a history of off the court issues, was brought in late during the offseason to support one of the soft spots in the Kings roster. Starter Darren Collison is scheduled to miss the first eight games of the 2016-17 season due to league suspension.
While it’s a minor distraction during the preseason, it appears that Lawson’s teammates are ready to support him and move forward.
“It’s a family situation, this is a family and when you say family in the huddle, you don’t just mean it, you’ve got to show it,” veteran Matt Barnes said. “He’s going through stuff right now off the court. I reached out to him because I’ve been through everything off the court personally. We’ve been talking a lot lately and this is something we’re going to help him get through because he’s a very important member of this team. Family is most important for us and we realize that sometimes it’s bigger than basketball.”
After six successful seasons in Denver, Lawson bounced around the league last season, playing 53 games for the Houston Rockets before getting waived late in the year. He joined the Indiana Pacers for the final 13 contests of the year and even made seven playoff appearances.
Known for his speed and quickness, the Kings have been optimistic throughout camp that Lawson can start in Collison’s absence and provide a major spark off the bench once Collison returns.
Fresh off a 3-year, $35 million contract, Lawson was signed to a non-guaranteed, league minimum contract with Sacramento. The Kings have policies in place for situations like this, but according to general manager Vlade Divac, the code of conduct is team wide, not specific to Lawson.
“It’s a team policy, you can’t just create one policy for one guy,” Divac said following Monday’s practice. “Everybody has to be a pro. Everybody has to behave the way we would like to represent this organization. So that’s how we are going to move forward.”
According to the Kings, “We have made it clear to all our players and employees that there are standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization - on and off the court.”
While Divac said Lawson wouldn’t be suspended by the team, he left the door open for a possible fine by the team. Lawson’s explanation to team officials has extended his stay with the team, at least for now.
The Kings roster remains at 18 players, with cuts expected later this week to get to the league maximum of 15. Four players, including Lawson, opened camp in a battle for the lone remaining roster spot. Before his latest indiscretion, Lawson was considered a lock to not only come out of camp with the team, but to play a major role for the retooled roster.