Ramon Sessions jumped out of his seat and was on his way to the scorer’s table to enter Wednesday night’s loss to the Magic, but Jeff Hornacek changed his mind. The veteran point guard went back to his familiar spot on the bench.
Signed in the offseason, Sessions was expected to be the Knicks’ starting point guard. He was for three games, but he hasn’t played in seven of the last eight. It’s unfamiliar territory for Sessions, who is playing for his eighth NBA team.
“In my 11 years, this is the first time this has actually happened,” he said. “I’ve been around for a while, been through a lot of different scenarios. The season is still early. It’s a long season. In the NBA, a lot of things can happen in a lot of different ways. You just got to be ready to go and just keep working.”
Sessions’ lack of court time has led to speculation that he could be waived Sunday to clear a roster spot for Joakim Noah, whose 20-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy ends after Saturday’s game against Sacramento. Sessions said management hasn’t talked to him about the possibility of that happening.
“I think it would be unfair for me to comment about any guy as it relates to if he’s going to be here or not,” general manager Scott Perry said before Wednesday’s game. “What I will say about Ramon is Ramon is a true professional. The guy is a pro. He goes about his business the same way every day whether he’s playing or not playing. That sets a fine example.”
The Knicks have until 5 p.m. Sunday to make a roster move and would prefer to trade a player for a draft pick or make a two-for-one deal to get an asset rather than eat a contract.
If the Knicks can’t strike a deal, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who was inactive for the first 10 games, and Michael Beasley also are candidates to be waived.
Cutting Sessions could be risky because the Knicks need insurance at point guard. Jarrett Jack has played well, helping the Knicks to a 6-2 record since replacing Sessions. But he’s 34 and is returning from a major knee injury that kept him out for more than a year.
Rookie point guard Frank Ntilkina has played well on both ends of the floor and is averaging seven assists in his last five games. He could become the starter later this season, but he already has been sidelined by knee, ankle and groin injuries. Hornacek said Ron Baker, who has been inactive the last eight games, is dealing with an ankle issue.
Sessions was signed to the veteran’s minimum to help mentor Ntilikina. He said he will continue to do that as long as he’s a Knick.
“No matter what, I’m still going to talk to the young fella,” Sessions said. “Whenever he needs me, I’m here. I’m not playing, but I’m still around. It’s not like I’ve disappeared.”
The Knicks averaged only 93.3 points in the first three games. After a loss to Boston, Courtney Lee said some players didn’t know the plays. Sessions was removed as a starter the next game.
After the offense started to click — the Knicks have averaged 109.9 in the last eight — Hornacek said Jack got the Knicks organized.
Sessions said he just needed more reps with his new team. “I wouldn’t say it’s something I fell short of,” he said. “I just think the more practices we got, the more games we played, it was eventually going to get to that point. So it wasn’t nothing I think that I was lacking in that department.”
Jack is more proven, but his success has been somewhat surprising. In September, the Knicks signed him to a non-guaranteed deal because of his injury concerns. But Jack has proved with his play and the Knicks’ performance since the switch that he should stay. He’s averaging 5.3 points and 5.9 assists in 26.6 minutes as a starter.
“He’s done a fine job,” Perry said. “He’s brought leadership and stability to the starting group and this team.”
Sessions understands Hornacek sticking with Jack. “The team has been playing well,” he said. “Those type of decisions you’ve got to live with and support the team. At the end of the day, it’s a long season. You never know when your name’s going to be called. Stay professional, keep working hard, just wait around until your name is called.”