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Ty Lawson: A team will ‘get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth,’ misconception that I drink too much

Toronto Raptors v Indiana Pacers - Game Four

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Ty Lawson #10 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates against the Toronto Raptors during game four of the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 23, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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A year ago, Ty Lawson allowed his guaranteed $13,213,482 salary for the upcoming season to become fully unguaranteed.

Now, after the Rockets waived him, Lawson is a free agent who won’t recoup much of the money he sacrificed.

Not only does Lawson have the stain of two DUIs in a six-month period, he’s coming off a miserable season -- including a stint with the Pacers -- on the court.

So, he’s defending himself.

Lawson, in a Q&A with Marc Spears of ESPN:

Do you feel like you’re a sleeper free agent?

I think so. At this point, I am not going to say they are going to get me for cheap. But they’re going to get me for cheaper than I feel I’m worth … I feel like I’m overlooked in free agency.

What do you say to prospective teams when they ask you about your alcohol problems?

Things happened in the media because I drank and drove. But I’m not a person out here like everyone thinks that I’m drunk all day. No, I don’t do that. A lot of my friends, we go out and celebrate. But I’m not that person in the morning getting drunk before practice. I think there is a big misconception about what everybody thinks. That’s what I basically tell them. I keep it honest.

Did you purposely refrain from doing certain things or going to certain places?

Not really. I wouldn’t be out late at night or anything like that. That would give people any type of excuse. I pretty much did the same things I always do. The times I got in trouble, I was caught drinking and driving. I don’t drive anymore or do anything irresponsible. Mostly, I’ve been just staying in and staying out of the spotlight.

Lawson really understates the issue with drinking and driving by pinning it on the media. The problem isn’t negative news reports. The problem is Lawson repeatedly putting bystanders in harm’s way while operating a few thousand pounds of machinery he’s too impaired to properly control. He’s lucky nothing worse happened.

Hopefully, Lawson has fixed his problem. It’s encouraging that he says he no longer drives.

But there’s a pattern of him sounding like he’s not taking responsibility.

The media didn’t manufacture the story of Lawson smelling of alcohol at practice, either. Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said it on the record.

If all that weren’t enough, Lawson stunk on the court last season. Six previous seasons of production might buy him benefit of the doubt -- but only so much, especially with his DUIs.

Lawson bet on himself last summer and lost. At this point the only question is how much. Lawson is advocating for himself to minimize that number, but I don’t think he’s doing a great job. Maybe it’s just too big of a challenge.