The Denver Nuggets frustrating 30-52 season finally came to a end last week and now we can move on, from what was a forgettable season. The Nuggets could have a lot of roster turnover coming this summer, and even though finding a new coach will be their top priority, improving the roster should be the ultimate goal. Regardless of who Denver picks as their next head coach, the Nuggets will need to add talent to a team that had very little this season.
In order for the Nuggets to start the rebuilding process, and hopefully speed it up a bit, I think Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly should look to move point guard Ty Lawson.
Moving him is a decision most fans may not want, but trading Lawson represents the best move for the Nuggets competitive longevity. Lawson had a very good season in Denver this year, averaging 15.2 points and a career high 9.6 assists per game, while finishing with 28 double doubles. He broke Nick Van Exel's single season assist record for a Nuggets player with 720, and was the motor of this team, for a majority of the season. With all that being said however, Lawson's play dramatically dipped in the second half of the season and he almost looked like he loathed playing in a Nuggets uniform, at times.
I'm not gonna sit here blabbing on about how Denver should move Lawson because of his off the court issues, this isn't a article about Lawson's character. I'm more in the line of thinking that Denver has gone as far with Lawson as they can, and it'd be best for the franchise and Lawson to move on. As I mentioned earlier Lawson played some very uninspiring basketball in the latter portion of the season, looking as if he were in full on Zombie mode. In the last 25 games of the season, Lawson averaged only 9.8 points and 7.4 assists per game on 39% shooting from the field and 30% from the three point line.
Below are three teams the Nuggets should speak with to gauge their interest in the former Tar Heels star:
Sacramento Kings - This one seems like a no brainer, given the fact that former Nuggets head coach George Karl is now the lead man in Sacramento. Also Pete D'Alessandro the general manager of the Kings, used to work in Denver's front office and there's already been a report that Karl would love to have Lawson in Sacramento. The Kings biggest problem has been they have too many players, primarily guards who look to just score.
Lawson would give Sacramento a capable scorer at the point guard position, but more importantly someone who can create offense for others and play selflessly. Lawson and DeMarcus Cousins would give the Kings a nice duo and give Karl the point guard he wants to run his team. For Denver, they could ask for the King's first round pick this year, which would give them two top ten selections and allow Connelly to have some ammo come draft night. The Nuggets could use both selections to trade up to draft either Emmaunel Mudiay or D'Angelo Russell, both of which could replace the role left behind by Lawson.
Indiana Pacers - This would be a good fit for both Lawson and the Pacers, seeing as Indiana has been searching for a point guard for years. Yes, George Hill is more than capable, but Lawson would be an upgrade at the position for Indiana, providing them a much needed playmaker on the perimeter. With Lawson, a healthy Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert, the Pacers would return to the top five of the Eastern conference. Denver could get George Hill back from the Pacers, who would be a quality starting point guard and the Pacers first round pick this season, which will probably be pick no. 11. Again providing the Nuggets with two lottery picks, making the rebuilding process a little easier for Connelly.
Utah Jazz - Out of the three teams, the Jazz would be the least likely to make a run at Lawson, especially given their group of young guards. However a potential starting five of Lawson, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks could be quite enticing to the Nuggets' longtime rival. That starting five easily could compete in the Western conference, considering the fact the Jazz just went 38-44 with Trey Burke as their point guard. Utah seems to me like a team whose stock is rising, and acquiring Lawson could be the move that gets them in the discussion for the 7th or 8th seeds in the West.
Denver could probably command Trey Burke in the deal to replace Lawson, Rodney Hood who is a promising young player and the Jazz's first round pick, which will likely be no. 12 in the upcoming draft (we'll know for sure after the NBA lottery plays out on May 19th).