Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Knicks still in Sessions
In almost exactly a month the Knicks will open training camp and the roster is still unsettled. The situations with restricted free agents David Lee and Nate Robinson remain in limbo and the pursuit of a backcourt upgrade has yet to produce anything more than blog fodder and twitter tantrums.
But the notion that is starting to float around cyberspace that suggests the Knicks are no longer in pursuit of Ramon Sessions is completely false. A person with intimate knowledge of the situation -- yes, intimite...you know, the kind of source that buys the situation a drink, cozies up nicely and even leaves a rose on the pillow -- says that Donnie Walsh still has the unsigned Sessions high on the priority list.
Tom Petty once said "the waiting is the hardest part." (He also once said "even the losers get lucky sometimes," which could also apply here. "Last dance with Mary Jane," would apply to others unrelated to this specific subject, but certainly not the NBA...ahem).
Back on point...
Things got very quiet in the Sessions situation over the past few weeks for several reasons, none more obvious than the fact that it was all talk with no action. It seems Walsh is the only real player in the game for Sessions -- again, if the Clips were that interested, they would have made an offer already -- and Dealer Donnie is well aware of this fact. In rewriting the Knicks front office code of conduct, Walsh stipulates that negotiating against one's self should never result in overpaying (see: Thomas, Isiah).
Sessions has a qualifying offer for $1M from the Bucks on the table that he can take at any time. It would allow him to enter next summer once again as a restricted, but when more than half of the league is expected to have cap space to spend.
It would also put him back with the Bucks, where rookie Brandon Jennings is sure to see a bulk of time, Michael Redd will get his usual minutes and Carlos Delfino will get some burn as well. One would hope Sessions would be ahead of Roko Ukic on the depth chart, but Scott Skiles does things his way. Bottom line is, taking the QO would be a major gamble for Sessions.
The Knick offer, believed to be around $4M at the start with an 8 percent decline in Year 2 to preserve cap space in 2010, is still the most lucrative bucket of guaranteed money on the table. Not to mention a 500 percent raise over his previous salary.
Sessions' people may still be holding out hope that the Clippers waived Mark Madsen to clear a roster spot for Sessions (but the backcourt there is still jammed up and Baron Davis is doing P90X, just like Ray Allen and yours truly). Perhaps they're hoping Walsh calls John Hammond for a sign-and-trade deal.
But the most likely scenario at this point is that Walsh and the Knicks will wait out Sessions with their offer firm and know that as the calendar flips to September, the 23-year-old will want to sign the best offer on the table.
And when/if he does, picture Mike D'Antoni getting the word on his celly while driving on the freeway, doing a giddy little Jerry Maguire impression: And I'm freeeeeee....free fallllin'
* * *
I tweeted this a few days ago, but worth repeating here for those Fixers who haven't yet converted to Twixerism (come the season, you're gonna want to):
I spoke with a friend in Europe who saw Danilo Gallinari recently and said he looks fantastic. Gallo apparently has spent a few weeks in Italy but also trained a little in England and his fitness levels are said to be extremely high. Gallo is telling people that he feels great and is virtually pain-free. There will be great expectations on the second-year forward from the first day of training camp and every move he makes will be scrutinized.
Why so much pressure? Because he has the talent to be a major factor in the Knicks improbable chances of being a playoff team in the East. I expect he will be a focal point of the offense from the get and we won't see the Tenth Avenue Freeze Outs we saw last season.
Yeah, I said it.