The Nuggets have wanted to trade Ty Lawson for a while now. Even though they may have missed their window to move the speedster while his value was higher, it’s still the right call to cut ties before training camp gets underway.
A video of Lawson was released on draft night (following Denver’s selection of PG Emmanuel Mudiay with the No. 7 overall pick) in which Lawson reacted: “Told you. I’m going to Sacramento, bro.” However, with the King’s addition of Rajon Rondo in free agency, that seems highly unlikely now.
Things got worse for Lawson quickly. Earlier this week he was arrested for a DUI — his second of this year. Yup, the Nuggets are really wishing they pulled the trigger on a draft day deal at this point. But Lawson’s talented enough to where his value has still not dropped below remaining a tradeable asset.
Although the price may not be what it once was, Denver’s going to move him. Luckily for the Rockets, he’s the perfect piece to keep them in the class of the west’s elite.
Gaging Lawson’s price is tough, but this feels about right to me. Denver gets three cheap expiring deals along with a young, cost controlled center in Capela (who has shown signs of development). If the Nuggets like what they see from Papanikolaou or Jones, they’d have the inside track on re-signing them as well. It’s not the haul of young prospects/draft picks they once thought they’d get in return, but this would definitely be considered a win for a team just trying to move on at this point.
In Houston’s case, they take a gamble (much like the Mavs did with Rondo last season), and hope it works out in a significantly more positive manner. The Rockets can afford to roll the dice, though. With Sam Dekker and Montrez Harrell acquired in the draft, and Donatas Motiejunas (who started over Jones) returning from injury, the loss of a couple young contributors can be easily replaced.
With the potential they add in Lawson, the Rockets could be very dangerous if he reaches the top of his game in Houston — something they need with all the additions to the Spurs and Clippers. Patrick Beverley was just retained on a 4-year deal, so Lawson could potentially even come off the bench at first/long-term if the Rockets felt more comfortable with that.
Playing alongside stars James Harden and Dwight Howard, and the likes of Trevor Ariza, Corey Brewer and Beverley, could be exactly what this kid needs. A change of scenery, a new core, and most importantly, less pressure.
Lawson would be the third option at best in Houston, but when Harden struggles, or just needs a rest, Lawson is great at keeping pressure on the opposing defense. Not to mention a Harden/Lawson fast break would have opponents spinning in circles.
The only downside to the deal for Lawson is his fantasy value plummets as a Rocket. His playtime would likely be pretty random, which means as a fringe starter he’d struggle with consistency. But that’s really more bad news for us than Ty, as winning usually cures all.
I’ve come up with a lot of stupid trades before. This one isn’t one of them — it’s a win-win for Denver and Houston. Get it done, guys.
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