Lakers Steal Sessions from Cavaliers
The Los Angeles Lakers toyed with making major change to their roster but instead have made a smaller move to land Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ramon Sessions. Sessions has been one of the LA’s primary targets for much of the season but secondary to the prospect of moving forward Pau Gasol for a franchise-level point guard.
In the absence of a worthwhile deal for Pau, General Manager Mitch Kupchak was able to send out the seldom-used Luke Walton, recently signed guard Jason Kapono and the Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft for both Sessions and guard Christian Eyenga.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Cavaliers also get the right to swap their first-round draft position with the Laker in 2013 (with the Miami HEAT pick in the Cavs’ possession).
So Kupchak addresses the Lakers’ biggest need (point guard) while dumping Walton, who was still set to earn $5.8 million next season. Luke had a 7.5% trade kicker which, now executed, will give him a bonus of just about $600k.
Kapono was brought in to be a shooter but had been outplayed by rookie second-round pick Andrew Goudelock. Eyenga is still a developing 6’7″ forward who had some moments in his rookie year (44 games played last season) but hadn’t been a part of the Cavaliers’ rotation.
The Cavaliers gain the Lakers’ pick, which should be in the 22-28 range in what is called by many a deep draft. It remains to be seen if it’s deep enough for value near the bottom of the first.
Sessions is armed with a player option on his $4.6 million next season. He was expected to opt out of his deal in Cleveland to pursue a longer contract and new location. It remains to be seen how he approaches his deal with the Lakers this summer.
While Sessions will improve the Lakers at the point (Sessions once dished 24 assists in a game and his season high is 16), he may be an imperfect fit in the starting lineup.
To date, Ramon has excelled when he’s been given the ball as the primary offensive creator. It will be an adjustment for him playing with two bigs (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) with the ball-dominant Kobe Bryant alongside him in the backcourt.
Sessions is not a true shooter (29.4% career from three) but he’s been impressive from long range this season at 41.9% on 62 attempts. If he can spot up for the Lakers when the ball come back out from inside? That would be a tremendous boost to the team.
More worrisome is that Sessions is shooting 39.4% from two-point range but as a starter, that percentage climbs to 45.8%.
So who will Coach Mike Brown start at the one with veteran Derek Fisher, the long-time partner to Bryant and locker room leader . . .
Yikes, the Lakers also just traded Fisher, stay tuned for more on the Lakers.