Nuggets president: Ty Lawson smelled of alcohol at practice going years back

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Ty Lawson was arrested for DUI earlier this month.

Notice the ‘2’ at the end. The sad ‘2’ automatically appeared, because we also had a post in January with the identical headline: “Report: Ty Lawson arrested for DUI.”

Lawson reportedly admitted to a previous DUI in Missouri, and he also pleaded guilty to a drinking-and-driving offense while at North Carolina.

Those were just the start of Lawson’s alcohol problems, according to Nuggets president Josh Kroenke.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Kroenke told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday in a phone interview that the Nuggets had been privately trying to help Lawson with his issues for “the past couple of years” and that there had been problems for a long time.

Kroenke said he had repeated conversations with Lawson about his “life struggles,” adding that Lawson often said he would attempt to fix his issues but he could “never fully shake them.”

“He always had an affinity for burning the candle at both ends,” Kroenke said. “We want to give our players freedom to be young guys as well. We’re not going to be drill sergeants. But we want our guys to be able to handle their personal lives on their own.

“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.”

This could be true. I tend to believe it is.

But Kroenke has incentive to smear Lawson, because the Nuggets just traded the point guard for a low return given Lawson’s talent.

The less people think of Lawson, the more they’ll approve of Denver’s deal. Getting a protected first-round pick and a couple decent players might not be so bad if Lawson’s problems run as deep as Kroenke says.

This also casts doubt into my theory a chance to play for the contender-level Rockets will help Lawson clean up his act. If he were drinking too much even when the Nuggets were winning, his personal and work problems might not be as related as I thought. Lawson was clearly unhappy in Denver last year. If that’s not what led to his alcohol issues, he and the Rockets must address the real source.

Hopefully, that process has already begun.