Ramon Sessions

Southeast Notes: Grunfeld, Johnson, Howard

It’s been a down year for the Wizards, but team president Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, since he’s under contract for next season, league sources revealed to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The terms of Grunfeld’s pact hadn’t been clear, and it remains unknown when Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis included this season in the arrangement. The pressure remains on coach Randy Wittman, who’s also under contract for next season but with only a partial guarantee on his salary, and Wittman’s relationship with the team’s players has reportedly deteriorated.

See more from Washington amid items from the Southeast Division:

  • Two soon-to-be free agents on the Wizards have dropped their agents to instead hire Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, as SportsBusiness Journal reports in a subscription-only piece. Ramon Sessions left Allegiant Athletic Agency’s Jared Karnes to team up with Bartelstein while Garrett Temple parted with John Hamilton of Performance Sports Management.
  • Heat buyout market signee Joe Johnson isn’t giving the team quite as much return on its investment of late after a hot start, though coach Erik Spoelstra, among others, isn’t overly concerned, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald chronicles. Johnson will hit free agency again this summer after his short-term deal with Miami is over. “Joe’s a vet, an experienced guy,” said fellow soon-to-be free agent Luol Deng. “We’re not worried about the vet guys. He’ll be fine.”
  • Dwight Howard reportedly has interest in returning to the Magic, but the team would be unwise to give him the maximum salary of around $30MM that he and new agent Perry Rogers will no doubt request, opines Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Schmitz believes the Magic should stop at around $20MM and thinks the team would prefer to sign a free agent with less baggage.

Southeast Notes: Pierce, Lin, Green

The Wizards are intending to utilize smaller, faster lineups this season, something they would have done a season ago if they had the proper personnel, J. Michael of CSNMid-Atlantic.com writes. According to point guard John Wall, the presence of Paul Pierce, who is now a member of the Clippers, was a big reason why Washington needed to play at a slower pace during 2014/15, Michael notes. “No disrespect to Paul but we wanted to kind of be a half-court team. He couldn’t get up and down the floor,” Wall said. “He’s not the young Paul anymore. He helped us out a lot in so many other ways in making big shots and being a leader. Now this is an opportunity to let Otto Porter excel, running the floor, being able to create off the dribble, slashing to the basket.” This desire to play at a quicker pace also led to the team swapping Andre Miller for Ramon Sessions at last season’s trade deadline, the CSN scribe adds.

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets owner Michael Jordan, in an interview with Hou Qiang of Xinhuanet.com, was cautiously optimistic about Charlotte’s chances this season, saying, “They [the team] should be OK. We changed a lot of personnel. Everybody is excited I’m very excited but I don’t want to get overexcited.” Jordan specifically mentioned the team’s signing of point guard Jeremy Lin as a boon to the franchise, adding, “We just got Jeremy Lin, who I think is going to be our biggest acquisition. His penetration, his shooting capability, his point guard savvy, he can really pass the basketball, and [we like] his energy about the game of basketball.
  • With the Heat‘s excellent depth heading into the 2015/16 campaign, Gerald Green will need to be more of a two-way player if he wants to log significant minutes for Miami, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “Offense comes easy for me,” Green said. “I know if I go down and lock my defense down, nine times out of 10 we’re going to win. I know my role is to have energy on both ends of the floor. I’m really focusing on defense, that’s what I’m really trying to focus on. Scoring is easy for me. I’m not really worried about scoring. It’s the defense that I’m trying to work my best at. I know that’s the only way we can become a better team, if I’m a better defender.” The addition of the 29-year-old via a one-year, minimum salary deal is easily one of the best bargains of the offseason, regardless of how much playing time he receives.

Southeast Notes: Sessions, Deng, Oden, Scott

Ramon Sessions is growing more comfortable with the Wizards, especially offensively, after a deadline-day trade that brought him to Washington ended a brief and unusual tenure with the Kings, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post details.

I’ve been around for a while and I’ve been around with a few different teams and it was probably one of the strangest things, to have three coaches by the All-Star break,” Sessions said. “A lot different things you’re hearing from different people and it didn’t really correlate with what was going on on the court. So it was tough. It definitely was tough. Me being an older guy, it was a little easier, but I know for some of the young guys it had to be real tough.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Suns reportedly had interest in Luol Deng at last year’s trade deadline and during this past offseason‘s free agency, but they didn’t ask about him as they negotiated the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat last month, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports.
  • The Heat have been planning a free agency push for 2016, but that’ll be difficult unless team president Pat Riley wants to break up the core he has now, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines.
  • Ohio State coach Thad Matta has suggested that Greg Oden will make another NBA comeback attempt, but the former No. 1 overall pick had limited passion for the game last season with the Heat, Winderman writes in the same piece.
  • The toe injury that’s sidelined Hawks power forward Mike Scott doesn’t involve a broken bone as previously reported, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Scott was reportedly expected to miss four to six weeks as of a week ago, but now it’s likely he’ll be back at full strength for the playoffs, according to Newberry. The postseason begins three weeks from Saturday. The team’s 10-day contract with Austin Daye, whom the Hawks signed to offset the loss of Scott, expires overnight tonight.

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.

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