The Denver Nuggets are breaking up their team, and their best asset, Ty Lawson, is going to be traded sooner or later. The Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings, both point guard needy teams, are on the top of the list of those interested in him.
Lawson isn’t the only player the Nuggets are putting on the trading block as their attempt to fire a highly successful coach and replace him with someone who has zero experience failed. After a franchise-best regular season in 2013, the Nuggets pressed the reset button and failed. The players hated Brian Shaw and it seems the team needs a new direction, a fresh start. That includes giving up on players in their prime with big contracts.
Lawson is owed $12.4 million next season and $13.2 million in 2016-2017, which won’t be so bad by then. His numbers took a slight hit last season in both the averages and his per minute and per possession stats, but it has a lot to do with an injury and the trainwreck the Nuggets became until Shaw was fired, which led to a pretty nice finish, although it didn’t make a difference.
Lawson did average a career high 9.7 assists per game last season, and any team that takes him is pretty much guaranteed a guy who puts up at least 15 points and 8 assists a night. Efficiency? Lawson has dropped off to around 43% from the field since Karl left, but if he does join the Kings, things might look up for him again in that category. He’s around the 35% from beyond the arc. Not amazing, but he’s a player a team has to consider about leaving open from long range.
The Mavericks failed with their Rajon Rondo gamble, which pretty much exploded in their face. They don’t have a high-caliber point guard signed for next season, so Lawson is a very real possibility, although they don’t have much to give the Nuggets for him considering how almost no one is signed on for next season. Maybe a draft pick is what the Nuggets want anyway.
The Kings, also interested in Rajon Rondo, are obviously in the market for point guard upgrades and unlike the Nuggets, don’t seem to be in a patient mood about the future. Lawson is an obvious upgrade to Darren Collison and is also going to be reunited with his former head coach, who took over the Kings midway through last season.
But do the Kings have enough to offer the Nuggets for Lawson? Are draft picks all that’s necessary, or do teams need to give up assets as well? The Nuggets don’t want to take on bad contracts in return which obviously complicates things, but if the Nuggets really want a fresh start and the Mavs & Kings are really that high on Lawson, they’ll find a way, even if it involves another team in the trade.