Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Sessions situation smolders
What we know is the Knicks want Ramon Sessions. The coaching staff anticipates him fitting in well with the spread-offense, up-tempo system, where the explosively athletic 23-year-old won't need to be a floor general right away because (soon-to-be) 21-year-old Danilo Gallinari can play the role of a point-forward and Chris Duhon is still in place with a command of the system already.
And defensively, Sessions has the wingspan, quickness and smarts to be a solid perimeter defender.
So what's the holdup? Seems simple: Donnie Walsh doesn't want to just hand Sessions a blank check to fill in the full MLE (five years, $33.9M). To paraphrase an NBA executive I spoke with about the situation recently, "that's how you wind up with Jared Jeffries."
Sessions is an enticing young talent, but not a proven commodity. To lock in a contract that would eat up $6.3M of precious salary cap space in 2010 is one thing, but to have him on the books for $7.25M in 2012 -- when Chris Paul and Deron Williams have opt-outs -- is foolish, especially when the deal will have one more year left on it at $7.7M in 2013-14.
So here's where, if you're a GM, you take a breath, hold your cards and glance across the table.
Sessions' agent, Jim Wells, has only one client. He also doesn't have many other viable options. The Clippers are in the periphery, but if they were hot for Sessions why haven't they made an offer yet? And with Baron Davis, Sebastian Telfair and Eric Gordon in the backcourt, there is far less minutes for Sessions -- a combo guard -- in LA.
With the Knicks, Sessions has a legitimate shot at starting and will undoubtedly get the bulk of the minutes that Nate Robinson (29.9 minutes per game) got last season. And, yes, signing Sessions does likely mean the end for Nate in New York. And that's not even to compare Sessions in the guard-friendly D'Antoni system as opposed to Mike Dunleavy's iso-sets that will focus on rookie Blake Griffin, Gordon and Al Thornton.
Wells eventually will have to make a decision best for his client. If the money is the same, the Knicks are the best scenario for Sessions. Walsh knows this. Wells probably knows it too.
The only caveat that remains is the Bucks. As we've mentioned before, it sounds like they would likely only match a contract that averages $3M per. Concerns about why the Bucks are willing to part with him, why Scott Skiles wasn't enamored with him, are legitimate. Sessions isn't a floor general, at least not yet. But the way D'Antoni plays is much different than conventional sets, so Sessions has different value to the Knicks.
But, in saying that, the value isn't enough to make the Knicks desperate to hand over that blank check. The "get-it-done-now" mentality is what got this team in cap trouble in the first place.
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* - As we reported today, Jason Williams "looked good" according to one person who watched his workout yesterday at the MSG Training Center. There doesn't appear to be a great deal of interest either way, though the option is there. Williams likely wants to seek other options and is hoping to secure more than a one-year deal, which is all the Knicks would want to give. The Memphis Grizzlies are apparently interested, but Williams would likely also prefer to hook up with a playoff team, if he could.
* - Interesting story in the New York Times about ESPN curbing the Twitter updates by their reporters because it doesn't serve the WorldWideLeader's purpose. Perhaps all tweets will need to include links to the stories on the dot-com, which means the reporters will need to write the stories and blogs first before punching out the 411 in 140 characters or less. So much for being first with the minutiae.
Ric Bucher and Marc Stein have been prolific tweeters and they bring some rare credibility to the instant-news madness that is going on lately. Our business is really going through an awkward stage right now and as fans, it's understandable that you would demand the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible. But just remember that some reporting needs time to be done right. This meat-and-potatoes stuff has trumped the importance of the well-written, thoroughly-reported story, which was the main element emphasized to me by mentors when I started in the business.
Of course, as I say that I also have to remind that you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/alanhahn.
* - In closing, Patrick Ewing has gotten a great deal of credit for his work in developing big men Yao Ming and Dwight Howard. So why is Superman now working with a pair of trainers who say they are trying to help Dwight develop a go-to move?
"Hakeem Olajuwon had the Dream Shake, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the Sky Hook, and we're working on a go-to move for Dwight," Korey McCray said.
Patrick's signature move was a mid-range jumper that was impossible to defend. It didn't have a fancy nickname. Oh and he just played hard.
Now that's a signature move.