The Nuggets are aggressively shopping Ty Lawson and the Lakers, Rockets and Pistons have showed interest in the troubled point guard, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix. The Kings also remain in the mix, per the report.
Lawson received his second D.U.I. arrest this year recently, which has sped up Denver's plans to trade their starting point guard of the last four seasons. It's the latest in a string of incidents involving Lawson, a list that includes skipping practice and posting a video following the selection of point guard Emmanuel Mudiay in the draft in which he says "I'm going to Sacramento."
It's not the first time reports have indicated that Lawson was on the block, only for him to remain with the Nuggets. But will any team give up anything of value to acquire Lawson given his personal troubles?
Why Lawson will get traded
The Nuggets have been rumored to be willing to move Lawson since the trade deadline last season but their asking price was reportedly too high. The recent events have changed that, with rumors emerging claiming that Denver would even consider waiving him. Getting any value back for him, of course, would be preferable, which is why a trade is more likely. If the Nuggets lower their demands, perhaps someone will take a chance on Lawson.
The team that trades for him will be taking a big risk, considering all the off-court red flags, but could get a steal if he can keep those issues under control. Lawson averaged 15 points and 10 assists last season on 35 minutes a game and is on the books for two more years at a very affordable price for a starting-caliber point guard. A change of scenery has done wonders for troubled players in the past and could be what Lawson needs.
Point guard is one of the deepest positions in the league, but consolidating some marginal assets by acquiring a good, cheap one is simply good business. If worst comes to worst, he should still be tradable later on or could be waived using the stretch provision. If a front office believes he's the missing piece for their team, the gamble is worth it.
Why Lawson won't get traded
It's unclear exactly what the teams interested in Lawson could offer in return. The Lakers would have to send Roy Hibbert back in exchange to make the salaries match. They also just drafted D'Angelo Russell to be their point guard of the future and have Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams on the roster. Lawson would represent an upgrade, but losing Hibbert would leave the Lakers without a starting center.
The Pistons have the pieces to make a trade happen, but have just re-signed point guard Reggie Jackson to a five-year, $80 million contract. Bringing in Lawson would mean one of them will have to be a backup. Jackson left Oklahoma City because he wanted to start and Lawson has not come off the bench since early in his sophomore season. Something similar would happen in Sacramento, where Rajon Rondo is slated to start.
The Rockets make the most sense as a destination. Patrick Beverley has re-signed and is expected to be Houston's starting point guard, but Lawson would represent a big upgrade on the offensive end. They have the assets to make a deal happen. The fit on the court, however, would be questionable. Lawson is used to having the ball in his hands a lot and that won't happen with James Harden starting next to him.
Finally, and most importantly, his off-court issues are very serious. While he's a very good player, Lawson is not a superstar. Would any of the front offices and coaching staffs from the teams that are reportedly interested be willing to add such a volatile element to their locker room? Can they trust that Lawson can get his life back together? It doesn't seem like a good course of action.
Likelihood of happening: 8/10
Lawson will very likely be traded. He's a good point guard on a good contract, and it only takes one team thinking his off-court issues will be resolved to make a transaction happen. It's unclear which of the interested franchises will pull the trigger, but someone likely will. Don't expect Lawson to wear a Nuggets jersey next season.