The Indiana Pacers stood pat at the trade deadline but are now ready to make a roster move that will add a veteran point guard in Ty Lawson, as reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical. To make room for Lawson the Pacers will reportedly waive Chase Budinger,
Budinger was the subject of trade rumors prior to the deadline as the Pacers were trying to let him find a better situation with more playing time after he failed to earn a regular role with the Pacers. According to Candace Buckner, the Pacers had a buyout deal in place last week but wanted to wait for the health of Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles to improve.
Budinger is with the Pacers in Charlotte but apparently will head elsewhere after the team plays the Hornets and he is officially waived. Assuming Budinger clears waivers, he also is free to sign with another team and CB reports the Phoenix Suns are a leading option.
As for Lawson, CC explains why adding the point guard is a worthwhile risk for the Pacers at this point in the season. Of course, with Lawson there is a risk based on his off-court behavior over the last 18 months or so which include two DUI's in 2015 (which the NBA has already punished). Lawson also struggled to work with former Pacers assistant, Brian Shaw as the head coach of the Nuggets last season.
Lawson was always good on good teams in Denver and the hope for the Pacers is that he is a player that excels in a quality situation with a good team around him. The Pacers have shown they can play at a high level but also could use a true point guard like Lawson at critical times in tight games.
How well Lawson plays will eventually determine his role and could make for some interesting decisions for Frank Vogel. In an optimal scenario, would Lawson be better in a starting role instead of backing up George Hill? Would Hill or Monta Ellis be a better second unit utility guard, if Lawson starts? How will the defense be impacted? Will Vogel have a 10-man rotation?
Fortunately, the Pacers have four full off-days next week to really integrate Lawson and also prepare for the regular season homestretch.