Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak held a conference call with team beat writers this evening to offer his thoughts on Ramon Sessions' decision to opt-out of the final year of his contract and other offseason topics. Among those present was Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, who tweeted that Kupchack's preference would have been for Sessions to pick up his player option for next year. As we mentioned earlier, the team still owns Ramon's bird rights and will not have to use their mid-level exception if they choose to re-sign him. Trudell released the full transcript of Kupchak's comments, and here are some highlights..
On Sessions' declining his option:
"The fact that he would not extend (his option) clearly puts him in the position where he’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1. With all situations like that, both sides have to absorb some risk. I’m not quite sure if he’s completely aware of what the future holds for him beginning on July 1. Beginning today, we have to plan for the contingency that he won’t be available as a free agent at a later date in July. We have to make sure we have back up plans in place."
On the team's point guard situation:
"I suppose we could look to fill that position between now and July 1 via a trade, or we can wait until July 1 and pursue Ramon, or perhaps another free agent, although we’re limited with the exceptions available to us. He did indicate that he was happy here in Los Angeles and that he would look to return. But once again, once the market comes into play, there’s no telling what will happen."
On Ramon's performance since becoming a Laker:
"I thought when he first got here he was very effective and I thought as we approached the playoffs and particularly the second round of the playoffs, he wasn’t as comfortable as he was at the beginning. Having gone through that many, many years ago, the playoffs are a completely different experience. The intensity level, the scrutiny, the awareness by the public. Typically you don’t see (young players succeed as much) under those conditions. I think he’d admit it wasn’t his best basketball. I look at our team, and not many of our players (played their best)."
On Sessions' market value:
"You could have 8-10 teams that value him at a certain number, but maybe there’s another team that values him at a much higher number. We’ve been involved in situations like that in the past. We knew what his number was if he did extend. But it can work the other way too: the market might not be as good as he thinks it might be. But he’s a young, developing player who I think is going to get better."
On free agency:
"There is always value. In terms of high profile names, I wouldn’t categorize this free agent class as one of the best ever, but there is always value out there depending upon how you define it. Whether it’s at the minimum, the mid-level or the mini-mid (level), there’s somebody out there every year that can play and help your club."
On last year's draft picks, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris:
"(Goudelock) is on a 2-year deal, so we have no decision to make there. (Morris)– we have until June 30 to tender him a 1-year contract. If we do that, we retain his rights and we retain the right to negotiate with him beginning July 1."