The Celtics and Nuggets have had exploratory conversations about a deal involving Ty Lawson, several sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. People around the league sense that a team could pry Lawson or Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets for an especially intriguing offer, Lowe hears. The Nuggets are a hub of activity leading up to Thursday’s 2pm Central trade deadline, and Jusuf Nurkic is the only Nuggets player truly off-limits, several league sources said to Lowe. Still, Denver’s setting high prices, as the Grantland scribe suggests the Nuggets are looking for multiple first-round picks in return for each of Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler instead of just one for each, as previous reports indicated. He also hints that the Nuggets have spoken to the Wizards about Chandler and Afflalo, though that point isn’t entirely clear.
Boston would be an odd fit for Lawson, since the Celtics have 2014 No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart at the point after trading Rajon Rondo, and Lowe writes that Boston won’t relinquish Smart in any deal for Lawson. Still, Lawson is tied for the league lead with a career-high 10.1 assists per game, and his salary of nearly $11.596MM would fit within Boston’s massive trade exception worth more than $12.909MM left over from the Rondo trade, so the Nuggets could offload his salary without taking anyone back. Lawson has two more seasons on his deal, worth $12.404MM in 2015/16 and $13.213MM in 2016/17.
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has clashed with the point guard at times this season, according to Lowe, who nonetheless downplays the significance of that conflict. Denver appeared to be against the idea of putting Lawson in a deal for Brook Lopez last month, and while another report suggested Denver was willing to trade the 27-year-old, the asking price from GM Tim Connelly and company was a turn-off to would-be suitors.