Ty Lawson's 2011/12 season may be over, but the point guard and his Nuggets certainly made the Lakers sweat before bowing out. In seven games against Los Angeles, Lawson averaged 19.0 PPG and 6.0 APG on 51.4% shooting.
Although Lawson won't be a free agent this summer, he has just one year remaining on his rookie contract, making him eligible for restricted free agency next summer. And it sounds like he wouldn't mind avoiding free agency by signing a long-term deal with the Nuggets. The 24-year-old tells Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post that a contract extension is "definitely a goal."
"I want to be here long-term," Lawson said. "I'm pretty sure my agent and Masai [Ujiri, the Nuggets' executive vice president of basketball operations] will talk this summer."
Lawson's camp can begin discussing an extension in July with the Nuggets and Ujiri, who calls the point guard a "big part" of the team going forward. The Nuggets could extend Lawson for up to another five years beyond 2012/13, though a four-year offer may be more likely. Teams are only permitted to sign five-year extensions for one "designated player" at a time — if Lawson received a five-year extension, Denver would be unable to sign another five-year extension for the duration of his contract.
As Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld points out, the Nuggets would send the right message by agreeing to an extension with Lawson, but it could limit the team's ability to add talent in the near future. Denver is already committed to long-term deals for Danilo Gallinari, Arron Afflalo, and Wilson Chandler, and will be attempting to re-sign JaVale McGee as well. Extending Lawson early would further reduce the club's future cap flexibility, but given his play this season, it may be worth it.