After trading point guard Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets president Josh Kroenke told Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports that Lawson’s had drinking problems for years and that he sometimes smelled like alcohol at practice. Lawson, who was recently arrested for his second DUI this year, was shipped to the Rockets in exchange for four players and a future first-round draft pick:
“There were times when he was better than others,” said Kroenke. “But the problems have been there for several years, going back to when we were having a lot of on-court success. I don’t want to go back too far. There were just a lot of times where you were at practice and you just know. You could smell it.”
Though most players would be out of a job at this point in their career, the Nuggets have attempted to help Lawson by trading him to the Rockets. By heading to Houston, Lawson will get the chance to work with John Lucas, who runs a Houston-based clinic that specializes in reforming players with personal issues. Lawson is currently attending a 30-day rehab program in California.
At first glance, it seems as if Kroenke is bad-mouthing one of his former players now that he’s made his way out of Denver. However, that’s certainly not the case. Lawson’s agent Happy Walters praised the Nuggets for actually caring about his client as the franchise kept the details about the 27-year-old’s drinking out of the spotlight and even tried to help him with his issues. Kroenke thought it was necessary to reveal the severity of Lawson’s problem now that a second arrest was made last week.
The former University of North Carolina guard was the 18th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and had spent his entire professional career with the Nuggets before the trade to Houston.