Ty Lawson is a brand-new Houston Rocket after the Denver Nuggets traded him for a bunch of spare parts and a lottery-protected first-round pick, and Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke opened up to Yahoo’s Marc Spears about the circumstances that led to Lawson’s departure, specifically his alcohol problems that (in a basketball sense) torpedoed his trade value and (in a far more important sense) are clearly affecting his life in serious ways. Kroenke claims that it was clear that Lawson was struggling:
“Ty … there were times when he was better than others. 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. You know there is probably deeper issues than he would probably let on.”
Kroenke added that Lawson “always had an affinity for burning the candle at both ends,” implying that his partying ways have been common knowledge around the Nuggets’ whole staff for as long as “always” means to Kroenke. So, if they knew Lawson had a problem, the question is, what changed? Was the only difference between this past season and years before that Lawson had been arrested and the Nuggets needed to rebuild?
Kroenke told Spears that Lawson was done with the team once he came back from a Las Vegas vacation during the 2015 All-Star Break too late to attend the Nuggets’ first post-break practice. Not only that, but he had a feeling that they weren’t going to get very much for him because of his struggles.
“I love Ty and will always love Ty, but once I saw him going down this dark path, we knew that we probably were going to end up in a situation where we were dumping him,” Kroenke said. “It creates a weird dynamic.”
The article finishes with Kroenke reiterating his desire to see Lawson overcome his problems in Houston, but it’s still a sobering (if you will) reminder of how even the best athletes in the world can have their lives and career dramatically affected by their personal demons.