Tagged: Ramon Sessions

Donnie Is Right Not To Spend A Dime

Just before the start training camp last season, Donnie Walsh told ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan “If we can do the right thing managing our cap, a lot of players will want to play in New York.”

At a press conference announcing the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, Sheridan asked Donnie Walsh what his plan was for the 2010 salary cap. “[W]e’ll figure it out down to the penny”, Walsh replied.

That sentiment didn’t change from the month prior when, during a press conference announcing the start of his own tenure with the Knicks, Walsh stated “I think that in [2010] we’ve got a chance to have flexibility in the cap. So that to me is one thing we’ve got to protect.”

Nothing that Donnie Walsh has done in his tenure has placed in jeopardy, even minutely, his plan.

He traded Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph at the beginning of the 2008 season for cap relief represented by Al Harrington, Tim Thomas, and Cuttino Mobley. He reminded everyone that “It goes back to what I said at my first press conference, I thought we needed to be competitive for two years, then have cap flexibility after…Opening cap space down the road is a big plus on our side…I hope our fans understand. I’m trying to be true to what I said from Day 1.”

For a while, most fans seemed to be aboard, but lately Knicks fans seem to be earning their reputations for impatience. Many of these once patient fans are now in revolt because the Knicks failed to sign Ramon Sessions (!), who has accomplished less in his NBA career than Nate Robinson. Knicks fans wanted Donnie to sign him based on his potential. Isiah Thomas who was rarely right, had a few gems of wisdom. He once said “One major problem is that guys coming into the league today get the multimillion-dollar contracts just for . . . having potential … So the younger guys are denied a lot of incentive to work hard early on because they get the rewards without having to earn them.” (This by the way, is the difference between Sessions and Jason Kidd, the courting of whom by the Knicks may just have been a favor to him and his agent (to garner good will) to get him a bigger contract from the Mavs.)

Sessions could very well be nice and at $4 million might be a bargain. But what is the opportunity cost of that $4 million contract?

RealGM’s Chris Riena projects that the salary cap will either be $50 million, $53 million, or $57 million.

If the cap is $50 million, the Knicks will be able to sign one max free agent and have about $4 million left over. With Sessions signing a $4 million contract, that’s a very dangerous situation to put yourself in if you ask me.

If it’s $53 million, the Knicks will be able to sign one max free agent and another player at $7 million, but if the Knicks signed Sessions, that would go down to $3 million, which does not net you nearly as good a talent as $7 million.

I really don’t want to be in a position where I’m saying “If only we didn’t sign Sessions we could’ve afforded LeBron James.”

If the cap is $57 million the Knicks would be able to sign a max free agent and $11 million sidekick, whether it be Josh Howard, Raymond Felton, Richard Jefferson (who has an option), or RFA’s Rudy Gay, or Rajon Rondo. Signing Sessions this summer would have cut that number to $7 million and taken the Knicks out of the conversation for many of these borderline all-stars. Reasonable people can disagree as to whether Sessions is preferable to any of them. In my opinion, I’m not convinced he is.

I think that is ample perspective on the Sessions strike-out, but there is more. Come 2011, the Knicks will have tons of cap room even after signing a max free agent in 2010, with Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry coming off the cap. The Knicks can sign another max-player in 2011 and comfortably trade some of their youth for an all-star caliber, or at least an above-average, point guard.

No, it’s not an instant gratification plan, as was so often employed by Isiah Thomas, who also once said that it is impossible to rebuild in New York. For him it was. But for Walsh it isn’t. This is a GM who will stick to his plan no matter what the fans, who will thank him one day, think.

Sessions Gone, Lee Likely Back In Fold

It looks like Ramon Sessions is no longer in play for the Knicks, who, if things hold form, will enter this season with Chris Duhon once again the starter.

News broke today that Sessions and the T-Wolves were close to a deal. Within a few hours news broke that Sessions has accepted the Wolves’ offer sheet, leaving the Knicks without any external free agent signing so far this off-season.

The Knicks will continue to search for their point guard of the future. The options are now trading for or drafting one during any of the next few seasons, or signing one as a free agent. The lack of great point guards in the 2010 class has been documented, and I don’t see any star point guards coming free in 2011 either, so it’s questionable where the Knicks will find their man, unless its Toney Douglas.

It does seem that the Knicks will retain David Lee, who apparently will sign a one-year deal after labor day. Lee, who had a “terrific” year in ’08-’09 in leading the Knicks to 32 wins, will likely rake in $6-$8 million. Since Lee is not taking the qualifying offer, the Knicks may trade him during the season without his permission.

Sure, this is all pretty frustrating, but I take it to mean that Donnie really likes his chances in 2010, and that’s a good thing.

UPDATED: Knicks Soon To Be Sessions’ Only Option?

UPDATE (9/4/09): Well, as I wrote below yesterday, there was a chance that a third team would come along and snatch up Ramon Sessions. Looks like it might be the T-Wolves, who are attempting to save face from the embarrassing and amateurish Ricky Rubio fiasco by sticking it to the Knicks once again after completely ruining their draft.

(Thanks to Auggie for the heads up.)

***

With all but the most deranged and disturbingly obsessed fanboys accepting that Ricky Rubio is staying in Spain for at least the next 2 years, the focus for the New York media and fans can shift back to Ramon Sessions, who has most likely been the Knicks’ target at point guard since Jason Kidd spurned them.

The news out of Los Angeles is that the Clippers have offered Carlos Arroyo a contract to shore up a point guard corps that includes Baron Davis, Sebastian Telfair, and Mardy Collins. The Clippers were the only other team aside from the Knicks rumored to be interested in the Bucks’ restricted free agent.

Unless some other team surprisingly offers Sessions a deal it looks like his options are limited to the Bucks qualifying offer (which would leave him a restricted free agent again next summer, since he has less than 4 years of service in the NBA), and whatever the Knicks want to offer him to be their starter and point guard of the future.

Sessions Watch

This afternoon Gery Woelfel of the Milwaukee Racine Journal Times tweeted:

Knicks almost had deal 4 R. Sessions a month ago. Now Clippers apparently close. Mike Dunleavy mum on topic.

But within minutes news broke of a trade sending Rasual Butler and his $4 million salary to the Clippers in exchange for a future second round pick.

Are the Clippers really going to add another $4 million to their books for Sessions?

Hoopsworld’s Eric Pincus, who covers the Clippers, is skeptical:

personally i’m still skeptical that sessions to LAC happens – would Rasual coming make that even less likely? not sure yet

and

Note – if the Clippers can convince the Bucks to do a S&T for Sessions – the most LA can offer via their trade x is $3.455 mil starting

and

Clipper source/Sessions “Never out of the hunt for anything that makes us better but we feel pretty good about where we are right now.

I don’t think $3.455 million is what Sessions or Chubster Wells are looking for. If they are going to take that amount, I think they’d prefer to do it in New York to start for the Knicks. Not to compete with Telfair to play behind Baron Davis in a slow offense.

Also, I’m starting to take Gery Woelfel’s info with a smaller grain of salt every day. It’s clear to me that he’s just passing along Chubster’s talking points.

It might be that the Knicks are Sessions’ only real option and that Donnie and Chubster are just waiting each other out. The Knicks though, according to a RealGM report, are not all that interested anymore, though I think that this too is bluster to get Sessions to accept a lower amount.

Stay tuned, as if you had a choice.

Von Wafer Update

Hes taller than Nate.
He's taller than Nate.

Yes, the summer is going by so slowly that we’ve resorted to Von Wafer updates:

Von_Wafer_freee agency is wearing me down — clippers, knicks or even maybe rockets are in the game — but I don’t like greek food.

I don’t know a ton about Von Wafer except that he’s a 2 with size and he can score. He can probably be had on a one-year deal or even a very cheap multiyear deal. I suspect he’s way down on the Knicks list of priorities in the backcourt behind Sessions and Nate.

Anyway, there’s your Von Wafer update.

Other Teams To Step Up Bids For Sessions

Word out of Gery Woelfel out of the Milwaukee Racine Times, and rebroadcast by Tommy Dee, is that the Clippers and Kings are set to step up their pursuit of Ramon Sessions. If the Knicks miss out, it would be a harsh blow, with the perception that Donnie Walsh is dragging his feet and/or is being entirely inflexible about the 2010 plan.

There have been some indications that Donnie doesn’t want to add to the salary by signing Sessions, without subtracting from it first by getting rid of Jeffries or Curry. I’m selling that. What difference does it make what order the roster shuffle takes. If Donnie thinks he can move Jeffries, then surely it doesn’t matter that he’s already signed Sessions. And if Donnie could really move Jeffries that easily, you’d have to think he’d have done it by now, rather than let the Sessions situation come precariously close to leaving the Knicks with no point guard of the future.

I haven’t been as frustrated as some, because I’ve just been of the opinion that Donnie is “smoking the terrorists out of their holes”. But if the Knicks lose out on Sessions because Donnie didn’t want to throw in an extra half a million, I’d be pretty perturbed.

Bucks Waive Bowen, Stoudamire

Bucks GM John Hammond announced this afternoon that the team has requested waivers for Bruce Bowen and Salim Stoudamire, NBA.com reports via RealGM. Bowen’s contract was only partially guaranteed. By waiving him the Bucks saved approximately $2 million.

Earlier today the Bucks signed Hakim Warrick to a 1 year deal for $3 million and the Knicks acquired the exclusive negotiating rights to Jason Williams.

What all this means for the Knicks’ pursuit of Ramon Sessions is unclear. I refuse to accept that Donnie Walsh considers Williams, who didn’t play during the 2008-09 season, a reasonable alternative to Sessions. This could be a hedge in case the Bucks are looking to free up cap space to match, or perhaps a precursor to a Sessions sign and trade involving Chris Duhon.

Warrick Agrees To Terms With Bucks

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has just announced that the Bucks and forward Hakim Warrick have agreed to terms on a 1 year deal.

The dollar amount was not disclosed but we can assume it exceeded the $1.9 million bi-annual exception that the Cavs were offering. Since Warrick bypassed playing for a championship contender to sign with Milwaukee, my bet is that his deal is for at least $3.5 million.

The significance of all this, of course, is that it uses up a significant amount of the financial wiggle room the Bucks could have potentially allocated to matching a Ramon Sessions offer.  In other words, this deal would seem to indicate that the Bucks are going to allow Sessions to go to the Knicks.

Ranking the PG Options

The buzz around the Knicks recently has focused on which point guard the team is going to sign to shore up its backcourt. In my opinion, the team should be looking for a young player, with a positive attitude, who wants to share the ball, contribute to a winning atmosphere, and play within the system. With that in mind, here are my rankings, from least to most desirable.

3. Allen Iverson:

The Iverson agenda hasn’t been pushed much except by Frank Isola, who is stuck in the 90s in thinking that adding Iverson is anything other than a terrible idea. Even in the 90s, Iverson was a handful and it took a feat of team-constructing magic to find the right supporting cast to make him a winner.

Iverson isn’t a fit because over the course of his career he’s been an undeniable ball hog. A ball hog in a system predicated on moving the ball and finding the right shot instead of your shot? When has Iverson ever demonstrated that he’s willing to cede opportunities to get his? Add to this the fact that he’s in rapid decline. You get away with Iverson hogging the ball when he’s in his prime and Larry Brown figures out what to do with him and he has a rugged supporting cast that doesn’t want the ball. But now? On a young team with players that need touches, do you really want the ball stopping at an over-the-hill, me-first combo guard?

Iverson also doesn’t work because of his attitude. His ego hasn’t subsided a bit: He’s told reporters he’d rather retire than come off the bench. The Knicks are a young, impressionable team, and fans and the coaching staff will certainly want them to take PRACTICE (WE TALKIN’ BOUT PRACTICE) seriously. A LOT of guys on the Knicks are learning the ropes (Chandler, Hill, Douglas, Galinari). They need a positive influence, not a classic me-first, egotistical whiner.

2. Jamal Tinsley:

Tinsley has undeniable talent, has manned the point on many winning Pacers teams (including one that won 60 games and might have won the title if not for the brawl). He’d also come cheap, probably signing a one-year deal at the vet’s minimum to rehabilitate his image on the big stage.

But again, do the Knicks really want someone who has to rehabilitate his image? The team is young and impressionable, and Tinsley makes Stephon Marbury look like Mother Theresa. Marbury just had sexual indiscretions and played selfish basketball. Tinsley and his crew were involved in bar brawls and gun battles during high-speed car chases. That was in Indianapolis, where there is undeniably less temptation than there is in the Big Apple. I say stay away.

He also has never been a good outside shooter, and at 31, he isn’t going to learn. Finally, like Iverson, he isn’t a point guard of the future, and the Knicks are trying to build a real team.

1. Ramon Sessions:

The lightning quick Sessions is just 23, is ready to explode into the limelight, has a pass-first mentality, and is a hard worker, having crawled his way from the developmental league. Dan D’Antoni coached him in AAU and he and his brother are convinced that Sessions has what it takes to man the point in this system. He’s a big guard, and strong. He is also young enough to be a building block to future success.

It will eat into the 2010 cap a touch to sign him, but Donnie Walsh should be flexible. We’ve seen how hard it is to find a quality point guard in this league. Also, he needs to work on his shooting, but that comes in time with many young players.

I firmly believe that Sessions will be a Knick.

So to recap, Isola should forget about Iverson. It’s just a miserable idea, and I’m thinking he wants Iverson here because the inevitable controversies will help the Daily News sell papers, just like Marbury’s travails did. There are positives to signing Tinsley but in my opinion the negatives far outweigh them. Sessions is the guy the Knicks should go after. He’s immensely talented, young, unselfish, a hard-worker, and the coaches think, a system guy.

Sessions Offer Imminent

Courtesy of ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:

There were strong indications Thursday night that the New York Knicks were assembling the final details of an offer sheet they believe will ultimately land Milwaukee Bucks restricted free agent Ramon Sessions.

Terms of the proposed deal were not immediately available, but NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks were indeed bracing for the offer sheet and also more likely to pool the free-agent cash they’re prepared to spend this summer to try to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to the signature of athletic power forward Hakim Warrick rather than matching what’s coming to Sessions from the Knicks.

One trusted source insists that the Knicks believe they can extend Sessions far enough to dissuade Milwaukee from matching but without affecting their well-chronicled strategy to leave enough salary-cap space to recruit one maximum-salaried free agent in the summer of 2010. An offer sheet to a restricted free agent must be for at least two years, but it remains unclear how much of New York’s $5.9 million mid-level exception Sessions would receive.

Let’s cross our fingers that this is accurate…