Back in July, when all transactions looked good on paper, the Houston Rockets executed a low-risk, high-reward trade for troubled point guard Ty Lawson. Houston gave up nothing of value -- a hodgepodge of non- and partially guaranteed contracts and a heavily protected 2016 first-round pick -- and had the potential to reap substantial benefits.

It was worth a shot.

Since then, Lawson has struggled and James Harden hasn't been able to figure out how to co-exist in the backcourt with him. The Rockets, who were legitmately expected to compete for a Western Conference and NBA title this year, fired coach Kevin McHale only 11 games into the season and now they're tip-toeing the .500 mark in the bottom half of a conference that is surprisingly wide open. In a sign that not all trades have a clear winner and loser, breathing down the Rockets' neck in the standings are those same Denver Nuggets who'd sent Houston a point guard in alcohol rehab five months ago.

Now, the Rockets are contemplating their next move -- and it could involve trying to accommodate a desire on the part of Lawson and his agents to find a trade partner for him.

Easier said than done.

Even the Rockets, who have a long track record of expertly drumming up leverage in seemingly desperate trade scenarios, will struggle to find Lawson a new home. The trade market for him is minimal, league sources tell CBS Sports, and the best move for Houston might be to hold onto him.

There are even whispers in league circles that the Rockets might consider waiving the 28-year-old guard, who agreed to make his $13.2 million salary in 2016-17 fully non-guaranteed as part of the trade. But there are voices within the league that I trust who are dubious on that point; better for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to keep Lawson as a potential trade piece in another deal between now and the February deadline.