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Pacers add Ty Lawson for bench depth

Free-agent guard Ty Lawson joined the Indiana Pacers in a move that strengthens the team's depth as it looks to make a playoff run.

"This is a good opportunity for me to come here, try to help the Pacers win and get into the playoffs," Lawson said in a statement. "I'm just ready to play and do whatever is needed."

Lawson could play a backup role to guard George Hill. Indiana also reactivated point guard Rodney Stuckey last week after he missed 19 games with an injured right foot.

"We're glad to have Ty come play with the Pacers for this final run of the season," Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a statement. "We think he brings added speed to our backcourt, he can get up and down the floor and he helps strengthen our second unit."

Lawson's debut didn't last long, however. Coming off the bench, he played just 5 minutes before leaving the game with a left foot sprain. The Pacers said Lawson will be re-evaluated over the next two days.

Indiana, at 34-30, is seventh in the Eastern Conference standings following a 99-91 win over the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

The Pacers waived forward Chase Budinger on Saturday morning to make room for the Lawson signing.

The Houston Rockets acquired Lawson over the summer from the Denver Nuggets. He was supposed to take the ballhandling duties from shooting guard and leading scorer James Harden, but instead Lawson was benched after 11 games and played poorly the entire season before reaching a buyout settlement Tuesday.

Lawson ranks last (83rd) among point guards in real plus-minus at minus-5.95. After finishing third in the NBA in assists last season with 9.6 per game, Lawson is averaging just 3.4 this season, the lowest total since his rookie season in 2009-10. Lawson has set career lows in field goal percentage (38.7), points per game (5.8) and offensive rating per 100 possessions (98).

When the Rockets acquired Lawson, the biggest concern was his off-court behavior. He was arrested twice last year for DWI, once in Denver and once in Los Angeles, which eventually resulted in two league-mandated suspensions this season.

In his seven-year career, including six seasons in Denver, Lawson has averaged 13.3 points and 6.2 assists per game.