Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried are losing confidence in the Nuggets, and both have let the team know that unless it hires an inspiring name to fill the coaching vacancy or makes a significant trade, they’d rather be dealt away than go through rebuilding, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. There was mutual trepidation between Faried and the Nuggets even as the sides signed a four-year, $50MM extension this past fall, Kyler hears.
Lawson and Faried, like many Nuggets players, were vocal in their support of Melvin Hunt after he took over the coaching job on an interim basis from the fired Brian Shaw, with whom Lawson had reportedly clashed. Lawson told Kyler in March that Hunt was “giving everybody confidence” and had all the Nuggets on the same page. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post wrote around the same time that Faried was particularly ecstatic about Hunt and that he and his teammates would vote unanimously to remove Hunt’s interim tag and formally make him the team’s coach. Kyler writes in his latest piece that major changes to the roster might nonetheless bode well for Hunt’s chances of staying in the job, since Nuggets management sees him as a viable head man for a rebuilding team. Hunt’s chances of keeping the job have improved of late, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last week. Team president Josh Kroenke said last week that a “period of transition” was on its way and that the club would take an “aggressive” approach to finding the roster it wants.
Some within the Nuggets organization weren’t on board with the Faried extension, as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com reported in November, a few weeks after the deal was signed. Arnovitz added that Nuggets brass consented to the extension in part because of the positive publicity it would generate, in spite of their doubts about Faried’s ability. The Nuggets were nonetheless hesitant to include Faried or Lawson in trades as of January, as Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote then, though people around the league sensed as the trade deadline approached that the Nuggets would part with them for a strong offer, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The Celtics and Nuggets engaged in exploratory Lawson talks, as Lowe reported at the same time.
The Mavs and Lawson have mutual interest, as Kyler reported Monday, though Lawson has two more seasons left on his contract, so the Nuggets have leverage. Kings coach George Karl would love it if Sacramento traded for his old point guard, a person close to Karl told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, as Beck wrote in February. Lowe heard at the deadline that Denver wanted multiple first-round picks if it was to relinquish the former 18th overall pick. That was in spite of the tension and frustration between Lawson and the Nuggets organization that Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported, as well as GM Tim Connelly‘s call, shortly after the deadline, for Lawson to “grow up.”