Newly acquired starting point guard Ty Lawson said the trade from the Denver Nuggets to the Houston Rockets will be a fresh start and that he's the missing piece the team needs in its quest to reach the NBA Finals.
"Oh yeah, for sure," Lawson told Fox 26 Houston. "I was like, before I even came to the team, I was talking to James Harden. I was like, 'Man get me over there.' I'll be that piece to get over the hump. It's definitely a breath of fresh air."
The Rockets dealt four backup players to the Nuggets in the July deal. As part of the trade, Lawson agreed to make the final year of his contract in the 2016-17 season worth $13.2 million, non-guaranteed.
"It's a huge chance," he told Fox 26. "[The Rockets] went to the Western Conference finals [this past season] and could have won, but you just needed a couple of extra pieces. So I'm excited to be playing in a situation where I know I have a chance to win."
Lawson said he had dinner with Rockets coach Kevin McHale last week in Houston and that he's spoken with Harden about joining the team.
"It means a lot, they believe that much in my game," said Lawson, who added he's excited to play for McHale. "It means a lot that he feels that way about me."
Lawson completed a 30-day stay in an alcohol rehabilitation facility last month after two arrests on suspicion of drunken driving in Denver and Los Angeles. The arrests have made Lawson a subject of possible discipline from the NBA, which could suspend or fine him. A final decision won't be rendered until the court cases are resolved.
Last month, Harden told the Houston Chronicle he's confident Lawson will be able to overcome his legal issues.
"Definitely, I've been through a couple of things, going through it," Lawson said. "He used to hang out with me. He knows the person I am. I feel like he has no worries about me or my game. So I'm just ready."