Ramon Sessions

And-Ones: Jennings, Wizards, Jerebko

Brandon Jennings might not have been thrilled the Pistons traded for another point guard but after meeting with coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, he understands why the move was made, according to David Mayo of MLive.com. Jennings, who suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon January 24th at Milwaukee, could wind up sharing time with recently-acquired Reggie Jackson next season if Jackson signs with the club as a restricted free agent, Mayo continues. Jennings, who has one year and approximately $8.34MM remaining on his contract, will be tough to trade this summer as he tries to return from the injury, Mayo adds.

In other news around the league:

  • The Wizards indeed used part of their Trevor Ariza trade exception to absorb Ramon Sessions‘ salary in last week’s trade, allowing them to create a new $4.625MM trade exception equivalent to Andre Miller‘s salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). There had been conflicting estimates about how the Wizards handled the exceptions, as I noted earlier this week. The Ariza exception is now worth $2,252,089.
  • The Pacers, Knicks and Lakers are eyeing 28-year-old Lithuanian shooting guard Mantas Kalnietis, with Indiana showing the most interest, agent Tadas Bulotas tells Lithuania’s Sport 1 (YouTube link; transcription via TalkBasket.net). Kalnietis went undrafted in 2008, so no NBA team holds his rights.
  • Jonas Jerebko, who is in the final year of a four-year, $18MM deal he signed with the Pistons in December 2011, believes his time with the Celtics is an opportunity to showcase his true potential, reports Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. After spending his first five-plus NBA seasons with the Pistons, Jerebko was traded with Luigi Datome to Boston last week in exchange for Tayshaun Prince.
  • Monty Williams is acting like a coach with his job on the line even though he has a year left on his contract, John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reveals. The Pelicans coach has been forced to deal with injuries to his star player, Anthony Davis, but he is still under heavy pressure to win because of a frustrated fan base, Reid adds.

Will Joseph and Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Sessions, Wizards

Dwyane Wade is extremely pleased that the Heat acquired Goran Dragic, calling his new teammate the best point guard he’s ever been paired with, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “I haven’t played with a point guard with his ability since I’ve been here, in the league,” Wade said. “This is going to be great for everyone, a guy who can penetrate, set guys up, but also a guy who can score the basketball, as well, someone who’s very tough. You want a tough guy to play with. He is that. Needless to say, I was very happy about what we were able to do at the trade deadline.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The trade of Andre Miller to the Kings for Ramon Sessions gave the Wizards approximately $2.5MM more space beneath the luxury tax threshold to work with, which could come in handy if Washington needs to sign another player, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post notes.
  • The Wizards hope that Sessions will perform well enough to lock down the backup point guard duties for next season, when he is owed a reasonable $2,170,465, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com writes. “There’s no question about that. We’re not going to take on any real long-term contracts. We don’t want to hurt our long-term flexibility,” Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld said. “At the same time, when a player comes available you want to look at it. He’s under contract this year and next year and if you look at backup point guards that are going to be available next year, it’s not a great list. It’s not that many of them.
  • Sessions is happy to be a member of the Wizards, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today relays. “Washington is a great situation for Ramon,” Sessions’ agent Jared Karnes said. “He’s obviously looking forward to going to the playoffs. He has a contract year coming up and this gives him a chance shake things up and be part of a playoff team. Ramon appreciated his time in Sacramento and wishes them success.

Eastern Notes: Sessions, Heat, Pacers

Ramon Sessions‘ agent, Jared Karnes, is excited to see his client join the Wizards, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports writes.  “Washington is a great situation for Ramon,” Karnes said. “He’s obviously looking forward to going to the playoffs. He has a contract year coming up and this gives him a chance shake things up and be part of a playoff team. Ramon appreciated his time in Sacramento and wishes them success.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Pacers made a serious bid to acquire Reggie Jackson from the Thunder, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  Of course, the Pacers wound up losing out to the Pistons.
  • The Heat made Hassan Whiteside an untouchable in trade talks along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson can learn a lot about being a successful NBA executive from the Heat‘s Pat Riley, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post writes.
  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was happy enough with his roster to not make any moves prior to the trade deadline, Holly MacKenzie of NBA.com writes. “We feel confident in this team,” Ujiri said. “In terms of growth, in terms of growing, we’re still a long ways away. We understand that, but a lot of things that were put in front of us were things that maybe [helped] immediately, something that makes you a slightly better now, but it also takes away from younger guys continuing to grow. We felt it wasn’t the time.”
  • Goran Dragic is likely to sign a long-term deal this summer to remain with the Heat, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. More than anything else, Dragic desires stability in his career, Deveney adds.  “Finding a place where I can be a part of something and build toward something, that is what I have wanted most, really. Having stability,” Dragic told the Sporting News scribe.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Kings, Wizards Swap Sessions, Miller

4:53pm: The Kings have followed with an official announcement of their own.

“Adding Andre bolsters our backcourt with one of the most prolific ball distributors in the game,” Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro said. “He’ll also provide veteran leadership to the locker room and a wealth of experience at the point guard position. We’re excited to have him join the team. We also want to thank Ramon and wish him the best moving forward.” 

4:13pm: The deal is official, the Wizards announce.

Ramon is a proven veteran who will bring an up-tempo style to our second unit and give us quickness, energy and defensive presence, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld said. He can make plays for himself as well as others and will help to solidify our bench as we head into the final 28 games of the season and the playoffs.  

11:02am: The Kings and Wizards have agreed to swap Ramon Sessions and Andre Miller, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). New Kings coach George Karl had pushed to acquire Miller, whom he coached in Denver, Wojnarowski writes in a full story. The Wizards had been seeking an upgrade in the backcourt as Miller had lost playing time to Garrett Temple of late.

Southeast Notes: Korver, Wizards, Heat

Kyle Korver passed up opportunities to sign with a contender before he re-signed with the Hawks in 2013, Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reports. Korver was unhappy when the Bulls traded him to Atlanta in 2012, but by the following summer, he had changed his opinion of the organization, according to Mahoney. “I just really believed in what Atlanta was building and what they were doing, I could see my role in it,” Korver told Mahoney. “I just wanted to be a part of that.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards have turned their attention from trying to acquire Jameer Nelson from the Nuggets to focusing on a deal involving the Kings’ Ramon Sessions, David Aldridge of NBA.com reports (Twitter link).
  • Washington may look to sign Bobby Brown, who has recently returned from playing in China, if the team is unable to bolster its backcourt via a trade, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards have spoken to the Nuggets about Wilson Chandler, but Washington considers Denver’s demands too steep, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Grantland’s Zach Lowe indicated that the Nuggets were looking for multiple first-rounders for Chandler when Lowe hinted earlier this week that conversations between Denver and the Wizards had taken place.
  • The Heat “badly” want to end up in the postseason and aren’t looking to swap veterans for prospects, a GM told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, but that GM and one other said to Jackson that Miami’s lack of assets is holding the team back in trade talks.

Hornets Eye Cole, Sessions Amid Walker Injury

WEDNESDAY, 1:02pm: Walker will miss a minimum of six weeks, the team confirmed via press release.

MONDAY, 5:21pm: Hornets coach Steve Clifford acknowledged the possibility that the Hornets would sign a player to help offset the loss of Walker, but while he said Walker has been “by far our best player,” he added that he believes the club has “more than enough” internally to maintain its performance. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has the details, and notes that the club is without an open roster spot to accommodate a would-be signee.

5:12pm: The Hornets have Ramon Sessions and Norris Cole on their radar as they pursue trade possibilities to replace injured point guard Kemba Walker, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Walker will have surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, the team announced, and while Charlotte didn’t provide a timetable for his recovery, the team hopes he’ll be back in six weeks, Wojnarowski tweets. The team isn’t looking to trade Walker, but merely to find someone to replace his production during his absence, Wojnarowski clarifies (Twitter link).

Charlotte is familiar with Sessions, having signed him in 2012, and he spent a season and a half with the club, a tenure that ended with a trade at last year’s deadline. Sacramento recently engaged in discussions regarding a swap of Sessions for Jordan Farmar before the Clippers waived Farmar, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who at that point pegged Sessions as the King most likely to be traded. The 28-year-old makes $2.077MM this season and is in line for more than $2.17MM next year.

Cole makes roughly the same amount, drawing slightly more than $2.038MM this year in the final season of his rookie-scale contract. Heat president Pat Riley insists he hasn’t made any offers to any teams, in spite of a report that indicated Miami had proposed a deal for Brook Lopez that would have sent Cole to the Nets. Cole “pretty much knows” that the Heat are ready to trade him, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote last week as reported that Miami had put the 26-year-old soon-to-be restricted free agent on the trade block.

The Hornets appear to be active in talks of late, many of them involving Lance Stephenson. Charlotte holds a half-game lead over the Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and is a game and a half back of the Heat. It’d seem unlikely that Miami would want to help a team it’s competing against for a playoff spot, though that’s just my speculation.

Kings Discuss Sessions-Farmar Swap

WEDNESDAY, 11:26pm: The Kings have talked about a swap of Sessions for Farmar, Jones writes in a full story. It’s unclear if those were internal discussions or if the Clippers were involved. Sacramento wants more perimeter shooting, and Farmar would help in that area, Jones adds. Sessions is the most likely King to be dealt as the team explores trades, according to Jones.

TUESDAY, 2:53pm: Jordan Farmar is a possible target for the Kings as they look to make a deal, a source tells Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who also hears there’s a chance the team will send out Ramon Sessions (Twitter link). The Clippers have been talking to other teams about Farmar, as Chris Mannix of SI.com reported Monday. The Clippers appear poised to acquire Austin Rivers from the Celtics, who took him in as part of Monday’s Jeff Green trade, though the Clippers have reportedly been looking to find a third team that would provide the expiring contract the Celtics want.

Farmar, who signed with the Clippers for the full value of the biannual exception this past offseason, is reportedly displeased with his role on the Clippers, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com wrote about a month ago. He’s seeing a career-low 14.7 minutes per game after receiving 22.2 MPG with the Lakers last season, the second most playing time of his career.

His salaries for this season and next are identical to those of Sessions, who also signed for the biannual, though Farmar possesses a player option for next season while Sessions does not. They make $2.077MM this year and are set for more than $2.17MM in 2015/16. The matching salaries would be key for the Clippers if there were a Farmar-Sessions swap, since the Clips are less than $2MM shy of the hard cap they triggered in part when they signed Farmar.

Sessions is also seeing the least amount of playing time in his career, averaging 17.1 MPG. He hasn’t played since December 22nd as he’s dealt with a strained lower back.

Pacific Notes: Randle, Kerr, Kings

At a news conference on Friday, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak tried to temper the expectations for Los Angeles’ first round draftee Julius Randle, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports. “Julius is still 19 years old,” Kupchak said. “You wouldn’t know that by looking at him, because he’s really a well-developed, big, strong, athletic kid. Over the years, I’ve never looked at a rookie and said, ‘Hey, this guy’s gonna bring us to the top.’  It doesn’t do any good to have high expectations.” Kupchak also said Randle would have to earn the starting job from Carlos Boozer, Pincus relays.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • When asked if Randle could see time at small forward, Kupchak said, “He can defend small forwards.  Do I see him right now as the prototypical small forward?  Probably not. But I could see him bringing the ball up the court.  I could see him seeing a gap, getting a step on a guy and making a play — whether it’s finishing or finding somebody that’s open.  Those are ball-handling skills that you wouldn’t see power forwards have very often.”
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro said the team specifically targeted Ramon Sessions early in free agency, and that their summer dealings were designed to free up money to sign him, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports (Twitter link).
  • D’Alessandro also spoke about new addition Ryan Hollins, and how his presence could allow Sacramento to play DeMarcus Cousins at power forward at times, tweets Jones. This possibility might keep a few stretch-fours up at night wondering how they will defend Cousins in the post.
  • Rookie Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t have time on his side, Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News writes. Thompson doesn’t believe that Kerr is in danger of being fired if Golden State has an off year, but notes that another shakeup is coming unless he takes the Warriors to a height his employers have never been to: the conference finals and beyond.

Ramon Sessions Signs With Kings

MONDAY, 8:48pm: The Kings have formally announced Sessions’ signing.

SATURDAY, 11:22am: Sessions’ deal is fully guaranteed with no options (team or player), Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link).

10:55am: Free agent guard Ramon Sessions has signed with the Kings, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee BucksSports reports. The deal is for two years and $4.2MM, and Sacramento used their biannual exception for the acquisition. This brings the Kings’ preseason roster total to 19, and with Sessions’ deal most likely guaranteed for next season, Sacramento now has 12 fully-guaranteed deals, and two players carrying partial guarantees on their contracts. The Bucks had renounced their rights to Sessions last month, but there were rumors that the Rockets were interested in acquiring him via a sign-and-trade arrangement.

He appeared in 28 contests for Milwaukee last season after a February trade with the Bobcats which sent Sessions and Jeff Adrien to the Bucks for Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal. Sessions career numbers are 11.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 4.7 APG. His career slash line is .439/.311/.800.

Sessions will compete with Darren Collison for the starting point guard spot, though Collison is the likely frontrunner. He also can contribute at the shooting guard position, making him a versatile bench piece. Hoops Rumors’  Cray Allred detailed what Sessions brings to a team in his Free Agent Stock Watch piece on the 6’3″, 28 year-old out of Nevada.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Rockets Eye Sign-And-Trade For Sessions?

THURSDAY, 4:39pm: Sessions is unlikely to end up with the Rockets, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. There’s only limited interest in a deal, Feigen says, though it’s not entirely clear whether he’s referring to the interest of the Rockets, the Bucks, Sessions, or some combination of the three.

MONDAY, 12:56pm: Free agent point guard Ramon Sessions and the Rockets have mutual interest, and Houston has spoken with the Bucks about the possibility of a sign-and-trade that would bring Sessions to the Rockets, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). Still, no deal is imminent, Kennedy cautions. Houston has only the $2.077MM biannual exception to give Sessions any more than the minimum salary after spending its mid-level exception on Kostas Papanikolaou and Nick Johnson, but a sign-and-trade would allow the Rockets to give Sessions a better deal.

The Bucks renounced their rights to Sessions last week, but they’re still allowed to send him out in a sign-and-trade. It’s not immediately clear what they’re seeking, but perhaps they’ll look to acquire draft assets, given their rebuilding efforts after last year’s league-low 15 wins. If so, the Rockets could accommodate them without having to send out any salary, using part of the nearly $8.4MM trade exception to take on Sessions at a salary greater than they could offer if they signed him outright.

The market for Sessions appeared to have gone cold not long after Kennedy reported in July that three teams reached out to the 28-year-old within the first hour of free agency. The Bulls were among those showing interest, while there were conflicting reports about whether the Hornets were also in that group. The idea of returning to Charlotte, where he spent most of the last two seasons before the deadline trade that sent him to Milwaukee, intrigued Sessions this spring. Still, with Kemba Walker, Brian Roberts and Jannero Pargo in tow, it doesn’t appear as though there’s room for Sessions on the Hornets.

The Bucks picked up Jerryd Bayless and Kendall Marshall this summer to go with Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters, putting a similar squeeze on the point guard position in Milwaukee. The Bucks have 15 players with guaranteed deals plus Marshall, who figures to play a key role, so it’s possible that they envision sending at least one rostered player Houston’s way in a sign-and-trade.

Sessions, a client of Jared Karnes, balances shaky shooting with a knack for earning trips to the free-throw line, as Cray Allred of Hoops Rumors noted when he examined the seven-year veteran’s free agent stock. He’s coming off a two-year, $10MM deal he signed after having been one of the marquee acquisitions at the 2012 trade deadline, when he went to the Lakers, so it’s not altogether surprising that he’s generating strong interest, even at this stage of free agency.

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