LAS VEGAS—Despite a second DUI arrest in the last six months, embattled Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson is generating interest on the trade market, NBA sources told SI.com. Houston, Detroit and the L.A. Lakers are among the teams that have expressed interest in Lawson recently, and there remains a strong possibility the Nuggets could unload Lawson before training camp.
Lawson, 27, was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday after police pulled him over for speeding on the Hollywood Freeway. Last January, Lawson was arrested in Denver on suspicion of driving under the influence. He is due to appear in a Denver court on Friday for a hearing in connection with the January arrest.
While Lawson’s off-court problems have raised red flags, teams remain intrigued by his talent. Last season, Lawson averaged 15.2 points per game in 75 games with the Nuggets. His 9.6 assists per game was good for third in the NBA—the second straight season he finished in the top three in the category. And with this summer’s exploding salaries—five years, $80 million for Detroit’s Reggie Jackson; four-years, $70 million for Dallas’s Wesley Matthews—the two years, $25 million Lawson has left on his contract is a reasonable number.
The presence of Emmanuel Mudiay—the 6’5”, 200-pound former high school phenom who has emerged as one of the breakout stars of the Las Vegas summer league—has made Lawson largely expendable in Denver. Despite playing just 12 games for the Guangdong Southern Tigers last season, Mudiay, 19, has looked like a polished pro in Vegas and is poised to be the centerpiece of Denver’s rebuilding effort.
One team that could work its way into the mix for Lawson: Sacramento. The Kings are coached by ex-Nuggets coach George Karl, who despite the recent signing of Rajon Rondo would welcome a reunion with his former player, per a league source.