Now that Ty Lawson is no longer a Denver Nugget, team president Josh Kroenke is free to say whatever he wants about his team’s former point guard, and he is not holding back.

Kroenke spoke Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, flatly stating that Lawson’s problems with alcohol began years ago, and strongly implying that Lawson let drinking interfere with his day job. From Yahoo:

“He always had an affinity for burning the candle at both ends,” Kroenke said. “We want to give our players freedom to be young guys as well. We’re not going to be drill sergeants. But we want our guys to be able to handle their personal lives on their own.

“Ty … 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. You know there is probably deeper issues than he would probably let on.”

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One can only assume that “you could smell it” means that Kroenke could smell alcohol on Lawson’s breath during practice, which paints a pretty bleak picture. A team exec publicly saying damning things about a recently departed player is nothing new—it’s a good way to keep a potentially angry fanbase at bay—but given Lawson’s recent spate of DUI arrests, this doesn’t feel like Kroenke just throwing shit at the wall for PR purposes.

[Yahoo]