Denver Nuggets president: 'You Could Smell' Alcohol on Ty Lawson at Practices
Mar 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets President: ‘You Could Smell’ Alcohol on Ty Lawson at Practices

Josh Kroenke told Yahoo! Sports that there were times that it appeared Lawson was drinking before practices over the past few years. “You could smell it,” he said.

Ty Lawson’s problems with alcohol have been going on for much longer than just the past few months. Nuggets president Josh Kroenke told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears that Lawson abused alcohol for “a couple years” and that there were times where he had alcohol in his system before practice:

“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.”

Kroenke said the Nuggets worked extensively with Lawson to get him help, but he could “never fully shake” his “life struggles.” Those struggles hit a new low after Lawson was arrested for his second DUI in six months in July. Nevertheless, Kroenke said that he ceased a lot of contact with Lawson after the first DUI in January and prepared to trade him:

“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. It creates a weird dynamic.”

It’s somewhat convenient that Kroenke reveals this information only after Lawson has been traded. Then again, Lawson’s substance abuse issues are now out there for the world to see, whereas it would have been inappropriate to discuss them publicly prior to now. It’s also worth noting that Lawson’s agent, Happy Walters, praised the Nuggets because “they actually care” about Lawson’s well-being.

The Nuggets traded Lawson to the Houston Rockets on Sunday for Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey and a future first-round pick. The plan is for Lawson to work with John Lucas, whose clinic that specializes in reforming players with personal issues is based in Houston.

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