Ramon Sessions Chooses Free Agency

Darius Soriano —  June 19, 2012

It was rumored that he’d go this route, but it’s now pretty much official. Per Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Ramon Sessions has declined his player option for next season – which would have paid him $4.5 million – and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

From what the front office has said since the off-season began, the Lakers will try to bring Sessions back. The question is, at what cost and for how long a contract. The Ramon Sessions that posted a PER in the 20’s for his first 15 games is certainly worth more than he was set to make next season. That player was a difference maker that gave the Lakers an added dimension through his speed, play making, and ability to score the ball. The Ramon Sessions that posted a single digit PER in the playoffs was another player entirely. That guy looked out of sorts and tentative on offense, making little impact in the second season.

Ultimately, I imagine the Lakers will take a cautious approach here. The free agent market for point guards isn’t amazingly deep, but there are options out there – Nash, Andre Miller, Ray Felton, *Jameer Nelson, and Lou Williams will all be searching for homes this summer. All of those players offer pros and cons and the Lakers must judge if any of them represent an upgrade over Sessions and if any of them are even gettable. After all, the Lakers will only have the mini-mid level to offer FA’s while they can offer Sessions more than that.

In the end, I can imagine the Lakers negotiating with Sessions in the same way  they negotiated with Trevor Ariza. If you recall, the Lakers offered Ariza what they thought was a fair offer. When he and his agent asked for more, the Lakers’ brass told him they’d be happy to let him explore his options to see if he could obtain a better offer and that if they found one, they’d be happy to match. If that same approach nets them Sessions they’ll get him at a price they think he’s worth. If he finds a better deal, all the best to him as he’ll likely be moving on. The Lakers are typically pretty firm in what they believe are fair offers, showing that they’re willing to spend but not break the bank just because they can. Plus, with the new CBA, spending just to spend isn’t a sound approach.

If Sessions is to stay on, however, the Lakers will have to commit to him in more ways than just giving him the contract he seeks. In the same way Gasol will need to have his role better defined and his strengths played to, Sessions will need to be catered to a bit more on offense to get the most out of him. That means he’ll need the ball more, should have more P&R actions designed for him, and should be let loose more often in the open court. It was obvious that near the end of the year he’d lost his confidence but some of that was surely related to him being asked to slow the game down and the offense being shifted even more towards Kobe isolations and post ups for Bynum. When asked to play off the ball more than he ever had before, he didn’t play as well as he (or anyone else) would have liked. To maximize what Sessions can offer, he must be more of a featured player. That, of course, means a more balanced attack and a clearer offensive system than the one the team used last year.

But, those are things that will only matter should he be retained. Which, for now, is an open question. The Lakers are once again searching for a PG and will have one more decision to make come July 1st. As we’ve been saying, strap on your seatbelts the ride is sure to be interesting and is only just starting.

*Update: Jameer Nelson has a player option for next season. Original reports had him opting out, but he’s actually still undecided and has been granted an extension to make his decision. His new date to decide on whether to exercise his option is June 29th.

Darius Soriano

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to Ramon Sessions Chooses Free Agency

  1. This was expected not a shock at all.

    I looked at Lakers roster and realized Blake is the only PG on it. I LOL’d.

    Then looked at other teams roster and realized Ramon wouldn’t start for anyone else than Lakers. More LOL’z

    Lakers will have to likely overpay for a backup or lose 3 1st rounders for nothing.

    You see Blake, Ron and McRoberts signings. A Sessions resigning means more dead weight would be added.

    This is giving me a headache. Jim Buss please make it stop.


  2. I disagree with Darius’ assessment of how the Lakers negotiated with Ariza. My sense is they engaged in a similar kind of trickery to what they pulled to get Shaq to demand a trade– specifically, the Artest deal was in hand but they needed Ariza to appear to leave on his own accord (to avoid the PR hit of dumping a fan favorite), so they told Trevor to explore the open market – suggesting he had all the time in the world and that the Lakers would take him back – then quickly signed Artest and released statements to the press that Ariza was unwilling to commit to the Lakers so the Lakers decided to move on. If you’ll recall, both Ariza and his agent released numerous statements saying they were blindsided by the process and led to believe that Ariza would be resigned by LA after determining his market value by being courted by other teams.

    In terms of Sessions, I agree with Darius– RS is probably worth a little more than his contract, but there are enough alternatives out there whereby this is anything but an easy decision for the front office. His deer in the headlights look in the playoffs doesn’t help matters….


  3. Ramon finally comes through for the Lakers.

    Can anyone- out of all the Lakers fans here- remember Sessions having any impact on the defensive end for the Lakers? Did he make even a single play on the defensive end at any point? His total lack of defensive value is actually pretty impressive when you think about it.

    Ramon would be a nice back-up whose up-tempo game makes bench guys like McRoberts and Barnes (who better not be back) into nearly useful players. As a starter he is a big reach. As a complement to Kobe, he is almost a total waste.

    Lakers are getting a nice break with this news.


  4. Resign him if we are going to use him right.. he has negatives but if put in a position to succeed he can help the club


  5. The Lakers have to decide if they really want a point guard. Ramon looked good the first couple weeks because he was allowed to play to his strengths. He had the ball in his hands and was on the move. Once he was relegated to bringing the ball across the timeline, passing off to Kobe, and standing in the corner his production took a nose dive.
    Sure the Lakers can let Ramon walk. Some fans may even like the idea. My question is who replaces him? Assuming Deron Williams is not attainable who else takes the starting PG spot? If Sessions walks and the Lakers start the season with Blake and Morris then they are clearly going backwards. Maybe it is better to keep Ramon as a back up for a reasonable price while still looking for a starting lead guard.


  6. Jameer Nelson has a player option for 7.8M, and he would be making a mistake not to take it, so I doubt he will be available. Felton’s value has cratered enough that he might take the mini mid-level, but whether he would be better than Sessions is questionable. Miller will get more than the mini-MLE and although he is still a pretty good player, would not be a great fit here.

    This is bad (although expected) news IMO, because the Lakers now do not have Sessions to use as a trade chip for either a pick or in another deal, in addition to the fact that he was, warts and all, the best PG they had.


  7. We don’t want Jameer Nelson, especially at this stage in his career. And as for Ramon, I was one of those excited at the acquisition…but the playoffs completely soured me on him. Unfortunately though, barring some kind of miracle of the Deron Williams kind, Ramon is our best option at this point(pun fully intended). I think he’s about to get overpaid.


  8. Sessions went from over-rated to under-rated pretty quickly!

    He’s an above average point guard, statistically clustered with guys like Teague, Dragic, Stuckey, Calderon, Jack.

    Fifteen NBA teams have elite point guards – he ain’t one of ’em.

    But he’s better than a lot of more well-known guys like Nelson, Devin Harris, Felton….and cheaper than the other potential starters available.

    It’s a hard position to fill, he’s young, and the Lakers played better when he had a looser rein.. It’s a no-brainer – keep him.


  9. Put me in the bucket of Sessions fan, if used right. He can get better at D with a year under his belt in an organization where D matters because you expect to win.

    Where he’d been previously, D didn’t matter, so unsurprisingly, he is weak at it.

    You can’t hold his Playoff performance too much against him because he’d never been there before. He didn’t play scared in key games with the Lakers, albeit limited sample size.

    Honestly, this feels more like a typical agent-driven misread as it’s not obvious who will overpay for him when he has never been a starter before and his Playoff performance hurts his value with teams that see themselves in Playoff mix.

    Plus, he’s never had a payday so he risks actually losing money. TBD.


  10. Sign Morris and Ebanks with the money you’d pay Sessions.

    Sometimes being a Laker overstates your value. This is the case with Sessions.

    Sessions has been in the league 5 years and on 4 teams. And has never started more than half the games he’s played in a season.

    Sessions reminds me so much of Smush Parker.


  11. rr,
    I’ve updated the post to reflect Jameer’s status. Original reports had him opting out but he’s since been granted an extension to June 29th to decide if he’ll become a FA or not.


  12. Thanks, Darius.

    Sessions can do better if used right, but his limitations were also clear. Brown has talked a lot about being a defense guy; if Sessions is on the team in 2013, I think that it is reasonable to expect Brown to be able to get some marginal improvement out of Sessions on D.

    Also, I didn’t mention Nelson because I was advocating getting him.


  13. Just because Sessions opted out doesn’t mean he’s looking for a pay-raise. By opting out now, Sessions can secure himself a multiple year contract, so he has more financial security, not risking an injury derailing his career, like what happened to Leon Powe. I’d say Sessions would be good at about $15M for 3 years, so about $5M per.


  14. The real question is do the Lakers truly feel they can get back to the NBA Finals in either of Kobe’s last two years? If they do, they will go all out, if they don’t, they won’t. Kobe is due $58+ million over the next two years before his contract is over. Let’s face it, Kobe will not jump higher, be faster, quicker, or a better defender next year. There is really only one way for Kobe to improve and that is share the ball more, pick his spots and become a more efficient scorer.

    And that’s what I’m reading when Darius writes “If Sessions is to stay on, however, the Lakers will have to commit to him in more ways than just giving him the contract he seeks. In the same way Gasol will need to have his role better defined and his strengths played to, Sessions will need to be catered to a bit more on offense to get the most out of him. That means he’ll need the ball more, should have more P&R actions designed for him, and should be let loose more often in the open court.”

    If the Lakers are looking to a future beyond Kobe, they can do a lot worst than locking up Sessions & Bynum long term.

    Here’s hoping the Lakers are looking to do what’s best for the team long term, and not for just two years.


  15. rr is right the downside of this news is the fact that Sessions can not be included in any trades. Zephid notes that this positions Sessions for a longer term deal (3 years or so). This is also bad because these are the types of contracts that in the past have come back to bite the Lakers.

    For a team that sorely lacks tradeable assets the Lakers may have squandered two first round picks. While not great selections they could have been used to sweeten a deal for a talented young player. Now the Lakers face securing the services of Hill and Sessions in the open market or letting them walk for nothing.

    Jim Buss and Mitch may not have thought these trade deadline deals through very well. The odds now look strong that these were not good moves.


  16. A Zephid sighting!

    I was thinking that Mitch would probably stick with historical and offer Ramon a 3 year deal. Probably start at 13-14 total and see what his agent and the market counter at. Threshold of 18 total before letting him walk.

    That would effectively make him the starter, gives the team flexibility with cap and his last year would be in 2015. Lakers would have a good idea of his capabilities at that point. Since 2015 is a clean slate currently with no contracts they can build around it keeping Ramon’s contract in mind, along with Kobe and Bynum’s extension. All while trying to stay under the luxury tax level.

    All that said, it will be interesting to see if Ramon could actually get an offer to exceed 3 years/18 mill.


  17. A Sessions/Bynum tandem has the ability to rival Magic/Kareem. By any means we have to get those guys locked up. And Blake can come off the bench with scoring punch like Scott did.


  18. The Lakers first have to decide what style they want to play. Clearly, sessions is not a half-court starting PG. He is an uptempo fast-break PG that can play a little bit of Pick and Roll, but his inconsistent J and poor defense makes him a poor fit for the Lakers. Let’s face it, as long as Kobe is here, he is “practically the PG” as he has the ball more than anyone by far. That is why Fisher fit with Kobe so well, because he is more of a spot-up shooter and not a playmaker that needs the ball in his hands. No other classic PG can really thrive in the “Kobe system”. If Kobe was in his prime, you’d stick with the system no matter what, but the sooner Lakers face the “Kobe-less” era, the faster they will rebuild and become a real contender again. Having said that, I would not bring sessions back with or without Kobe, because he plays no D, and is limited offensively and overall talent-wise. NO D, no rings. And I don’t believe he will ever be a good defender, as you are what you are at this age. If they bring back session with the current group, it would be waste of salary cap space for years to come. He is not worth more than 3 million, period.


  19. >>>A Sessions/Bynum tandem has the ability to rival Magic/Kareem

    wtf? session — magic? bynum–kareem? maybe in another universe.


  20. Darius is right on. There is no reason to pay a PG anything on this team unless Kobe finally gives up his desire to dominate the ball. I know second hand that he asked Mike Brown and Mitch to switch the offense back to him dominating the ball and move Ramon off of it a few weeks before the playoffs. Lil Pau is also right… As I also know second hand from Ariza’s college best friend that Ariza was let go by the Lakers as soon as Artest agreed to sign for the MLE.


  21. @bill bill Kevin was obviously being sarcastic.

    given that the Lakers gave up 2 first round picks for sessions they have to resign him unless the bidding goes north of 6 million per or more than 3 yrs. I think he’s a bit underrated due to his playoff no show but he clearly can be an offensive weapon when allowed to play at a faster pace with the ball in his hands. ideally the Lakers would get Deron Williams in a sign and trade to start and play at the the 2 along side sessions to give Kobe more rest than he got last year.


  22. No surprise here. Players have to maximize their value while they can. Especially under the new CBA. Also got the vibe that he wasn’t as excited playing with the Lakers as he was when he first arrived once he was advised to slow down his game (handcuffed) and was forced to play off the ball. Essentially, removing the (Point) Guard from his title.

    Can’t see us offering no more than 2 years (possibly 3), so the question then becomes, for how much? While I’m not the one to try and count the organizations funds, I’ll ask for hypothetical reasons, would he be willing to except between 9-10 mil (or 13.5-15 mil/3 yrs) over that time frame? Can’t even imagine the Lakers (or any other team for that matter) offering more than that amount. Interesting dilemma .. To say the least.


  23. If the Lakers were committed to competing for the championship, they’d be retaining talent that has been through the wars together at the highest levels. We’re seeing the value of that play out right now in the Finals (as it does most years). It’s not that Sessions accomplished much in this year’s playoffs, but that he got experience as a Laker in the second round. If the only thing that can be said about his eventual replacement is that the guy signed for less than Sessions got, well (sigh) at least I can say I enjoyed spending all those years as a spoiled Laker fan.


  24. Ariza took a risk in testing the market and Sessions is following that same path. Lakers management did what was best in their mind for the team in regards to Ariza. Had Ariza gotten a ridiculous offer that the Lakers couldn’t match, would Ariza have left money on the table to remain a Laker?

    One minute fans want management to be cut throat and amnesty Kobe (5 rings) and the next they want management to be loyal to Trevor (1 ring) and Sessions (whom auditioned as a magician with a disappearing act during the playoffs). I’ve yet to see a player playing for a contract defer his game to anyone as they know numbers equate to dollars in a contract year. Like the Drew League says: “No excuse, just produce!” That’s all anyone wanted from Sessions and if you aren’t impacting the game on offense then why not on defense get a steal or snag a rebound.


  25. Maybe they can go with 2 years with the third as a team option. That would give the team the option of wiping his contract off the books the same summer that Kobe and Pau’s contracts (if Pau is still around) come off the books.

    The start of next season will be huge for the Lakers. If the team struggles out of the gate I can see them starting the dismantling process before the trade deadline.


  26. If Lakers are serious about cutting salary they’ll resign Darius Morris to be the starter next year. And stop giving out these mid level type contracts to unimpactful role players.

    Knowing their strapped for cash Lakers may offer Sessions less than other teams. This may be his last huge contract he’ll likely go to the highest bidder. Here’s to another team overpaying for Ramon.


  27. lakers are a mess… sad!


  28. I have an honest question so please don’t shoot me simply for being curious.

    If Kobe felt that the Lakers were not going to be championship contenders these next few years do you think he would request a trade?:
    a) would the Lakers try and accommodate him?
    b) would any team really trade for him?

    I believe this is a moot issue because Kobe realizes this would be a futile attempt to win another championship. Any team that trades for Kobe would have to give up many of the assets that would have made the team attractive to him in the first place.

    I also think that even if the Buss family realized that the Lakers had zero chance of winning these next two years they still would not trade Kobe because he is the only player that puts butts in the seats.

    What do you all think?


  29. Sessions didn’t cost two 1st round picks regardless of what Simmons keeps trying to say.

    Trade was Walton, Kapono, 1st round pick for Sessions and Eyenga.

    If Sessions signs for 3 years at a reasonable price and he could be an average starting PG, I’d consider the pick well spent.


  30. chownoir: Cleveland gets to choose between LA and Miami’s 1st in 2013 draft. It’s really 3 picks.

    Jeff: I don’t think he’ll ask for a trade. He’ll voice his displeasure and threaten it. But I see Kobe being on the Lakers next year. Kobe is the cash cow. Given the economy watching a team starring Bynum looks much better in HD than floor seats.

    If you had to choose between Sessions and Hill. Who would you sign?


  31. Steve Nash will be a Laker next year.


  32. Kevin & Chownoir,
    Actually, the Cavs own Miami’s pick next year from the LeBron sign and trade. So, as part of the Sessions deal the Cavs have the right to switch the Heat’s pick with the Lakers’ pick. An example would be the Lakers picking 22nd and the Heat’s pick being 28th and the Cavs choosing to swap those picks (leaving the Lakers with the 28th pick instead of the 22nd pick).

    So, the Sessions trade only cost one 1st round pick, not two. But it *will likely* cost them draft position next season. I’m not sure how anyone can say it cost them three unless they’re counting the pick they sent with Fisher to Houston for Hill. If that’s the case, that’s a funny way of talking about the Sessions trade considering Hill’s an actual player that contributed last year.


  33. Darius: So Lakers do have a 1st next year. Another asset we could use. Thanks for clarifying that. Was definitely counting the Hill pick Sessions was the main get there. Even though Beasley was talked about dealing Fisher seemed to be a higher priority than getting a PF.


  34. I doubt Sessions is back. The fit wasn’t there at all, and I have to believe Mitch is trying to revive the Gasol for Lowry discussions.


  35. Could Sessions be used as a piece in a sign and trade? For example, and pardon me for dreaming, but in a hypothetical swap of a current Laker center (or power forward) for a certain elite point guard free agent, could he be used to mitigate the other team’s loss of a PG?


  36. Kevin,
    Thought it was never said, I always thought Beasley was going to be a stretch PF ala what they thought they were getting w/ Murphy. So, I think PF was on the Lakers’ radar and when the Beas deal fell through, they moved onto another option. (Though, I do agree, dumping a PG was part of their plan all along. Mitch said as much when he said that having Sessions, Blake, and Fisher all on the roster would have been too much money invested in PG’s as well as an imbalanced roster w/ too many PG’s with the result being one of them not playing.)


  37. Has Kobe crossed that thin line between love and hate?

    These roster discussions are going to increasingly center around the impossible constraints imposed by his mega salary. At some point the booing will start.


  38. Has Kobe crossed that thin line between love and hate?

    Last I looked, Kobe doesn’t own the Lakers. People who are upset about his deal need to take that out on the FO.

    Also, with Garnett’s and Duncan’s deals running out this year, Pau will I believe be the 2nd or 3rd-highest-paid player in the NBA next year. It was pretty clear at the time, and I said as much, as did others, that the deals were excessive–both of them.


  39. ..but no one should blame Gasol and Bryant for signing them.


  40. Don’t join the bidding war for Sessions, let him go, he cannot be a starter PG with the Lakers, his future here would be a sub PG. However, the trade was good during the mid season, getting rid of Walton, Kapono and Sessions placed us in the 3rd position in the W. Without Sessions, Lakers could have been eliminated in the 1st round possible in 7th or 8th position for the season. Mbrown was not able utilize Sessions effectiveness, in fact Ramon was totally confused with his role.

    What is next? Line up all PG options including imports from Euro League. What is frustrating, Lakers lost the prestige Ariza opted out, Shannon Brown went to Suns for a meager increase in pay, Odom forced the trade and now Sessions. Will Jordan Hill exercise his opt out clause too. Two things are clear, Lakers could not assure them a good pay and there is a perception the team is on a revamp without any clear destination. Where is the confidence from players outlook to sacrifice for Lakers like Fox, Gary Payton, Malone, because they know something is in store for them in the future.

    Ramon Sesssions may have sensed that he would just be used in a sign and trade deal; would spend his career as a send team PG under Mbrown; will be blamed for all the forthcoming mess.


  41. Erratum #40 I meant 2nd team PG on the last paragraph.


  42. Pardon my pessimism. However, the reality is starting to seep in and become apparent to me: The Lakers are in a real bind.

    I hope management appreciates the situation they are in. Their moves this summer could well dictate the Laker’s course for the next decade.

    Like most teams we over value our assets. Other teams will not be willing to trade equal value for either Pau or Andrew. They will not bring back established stars that can make us contenders over the next few years. With no picks and with Sessions/Hill as FAs there are no additional trade sweeteners available. Barring some Jedi mind trick employed by Mitch we will not see them exchanged for DWill and or DHoward.

    In my mind the downside of moving Pau and Andrew is in the futile attempt to chase a championship these last two years of Kobe’s contract. In this case we make the mistake of trading them for nice but not great players. And if these players happen to be on longer contracts we run the risk of prolonging our mediocrity (think Scola and Lowry for Pau).

    Trades such as these will put us in ‘No Man’s Land’. This is where teams often spend an eternity: not bad enough to hit bottom (and truly rebuild) and not good enough to compete.

    I vote to trade Bynum for a pick and a young talent that can be part of the future core. His value will likely never be higher. Moving him now prevents management from having to give him a max contract. In that scenario we get to see him play 50% of the games as the other half would be lost to injury.

    So ladies and gentlemen you 2012-2013 Lakers: Move Pau back to Center, make Hill your PF, play Ebanks at SF, Kobe at SG and the young talent you get for Bynum at PG.

    Your bench would still be weak. Hopefully management will have learned from last year’s mistakes prioritize young unproven players with upside over veterans with one foot in retirement.

    The natural reset comes when Kobe and Pau’s contracts expire. The goal is to cross over into the post Kobe Lakers with a few young core pieces in place.


  43. Durant gets zero respect from the refs. It’s crazy.


  44. Tons of uncalled contact on both ends already–LeBron complaining, Battier playing extremely physical, Ibaka getting a little carried away, and Westbrook talking trash….I’m calling it right now—absent a few minutes of “cool it guys” officiating soon–there will be an “altercation event” in this game…


  45. You got to love the heart of these young Thunder. They just know how to rise against adversity.


  46. Soooooooo

    Let me understand this. We traded a first round pick and some bad players in Walton and Kapono and got NOTHING. And this is a good deal if you are Cleveland or Charlotte.

    No doubt we will have traded Fisher and a 1st for Hill who will opt out and we will get nothing.

    So in essence the new Jim Buss years are about dumping drafts and dumping salaries and getting nothing in return

    So when did the Lakers turn into a 3rd tier franchise? Oh I answered that.

    Tge Jim Buss Money Ball years.


  47. Looking like A Heat championship, makes me sick….


  48. Love or Hate don’t matter a whit if the player puts people in the seats and increases the eyeballs on the TV. Kobe does both and will until he retires. Therefore, he retires a Laker and all this fan posturing is just that.

    Now the fact that Pau is likely to be the 2nd or 3rd highest paid PF for the next two years does impact his trade status. It is most likely that he will be gone.


  49. Refs for some reason feel the need to put their imprint on games. The tough no calls first half was just fine.

    Almost like they premeditate how they’re going to call a half instead of just calling what they see.


  50. Zebras are calling it one sided right now in favor of the cHEAT!


  51. What is up with James Harden? He’s pulling a Lebron in this Finals. He looks completely lost and out of synch.


  52. Kevin: “Jim Buss please make it stop” I pleaded with the FO since pre-season last year + it did not work. I have since given up, and now I am simply making sure everyone else is aware of their ineptitude.
    Ko: “dumping drafts and dumping salaries” Mitch is just doing what he is told.


  53. Did LeBron just pull a Paul Pierce?


  54. Morgan: “the reality is starting to seep in ” I have been dealing with this feeling for a long time.
    Leo: “Jim Buss and Mitch may not have thought these trade deadline deals through very well” Uh – yea : )


  55. Durant and harden = NO shows


  56. Whew, dodged that one. Now all Mitch has to do is pretend like he is sad to see Sessions go when someone offers him 15 mil for 3 years and we’re good.

    I can’t stand the thought of Heat winning it all. Rooting for OKC like I would for the Lakers.


  57. I said before the series started Durant can be denied the ball. Battier, LeBron and Wade this series have forced him catch the ball at the 3 point line. He needs to hit the weights.


  58. Meh, it may be a cliche, but experience does count. Thunder killed themselves with turnovers in the 4th (and an inexplicable inability for Harden to dunk on a fast break), while LeBron steadily guided his team throughout the entire game. Multiple Miami players also hit big shots in the 4th.

    Nevertheless, I suspect this series is going back to OKC. Ratings have been so good, I wouldn’t be surprised for the refs to pull one over on the Heat in Game 5 if it’s close.


  59. That Fisher blocked layup seemed to swing the game to Miami’s favor.


  60. OKC cant win this series without help from bench. (also starters). Only Durant and Westbrook are the only players playing good basketball for them. No one else can step up with the stakes at its highest.
    this series should be over now (is there a finals comeback from 3-1 deficit?)

    if we are thinking of rebuilding now, we should consider our matchup for East teams who will dominate for the next few years.


  61. Would Kobe sit out an NBA finals game with cramps? The guy plays with broken finger, a broken nose, plays with one leg, shoots with 3 good fingers.

    While Lebron sits out the crucial minutes of the games with..(wait for it) CRAMPS.

    You’d have to drag kill Kobe and drag his carcase out, to get him out of the game. Let alone a pivotal NBA finals game.


  62. Jayz: your reaching. lol

    LeBron deserves this. You have to appreciate greatness and LeBron is that. It was visible with Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kobe now it’s LeBron’s turn to shine.


  63. Kevin: I’m a Lebron hater isn’t it obvious :). Ever since people said Lebron was better than Kobe (during the puppet hype),that’s when my hate meter went off the charts.


  64. A good game with the Heat’s other than the big three outplaying the Thunder’s other than the big three.

    Harden plays well against other people’s bench players, however in the playoffs starters play extended minutes, so Harden is ineffective. I actually wanted the Sixers Lou Williams to win 6th man of the year as he scored more points that the starters.

    Ibaka and Perkins are invisible against the Heat whom are only playing Bosh and Haslem against them. Wow! How can Ibaka disappear like this on the defensive end.

    Durant needs to hit the weights this summer, get at least 1-2 post moves and learn how to play positional defense. He’s only 23 years old and will only get better. Wish the Lakers could somehow get him in Los Angeles post Kobe.


  65. Regardless of this season, I think the Thunder are the long range threat. They just need experience (and maybe a coach who runs an actual offensive and defensive system).

    It doesn’t look like it now, but the Heat are in the same boat as the Lakers, with big contracts signed prior to the new CBA. They’re going to be in the same salary cap hell the Lakers are in. Not to mention Wade’s game is going to age quickly–he admitted a few days ago he already can’t do what he used to. The Heat’s time is now, and they’re playing like it.


  66. Kevin: Lebron is a great player,just not the g.o.a.t has his been so hyped to be.

    And his certainly not better than Kobe.

    In their prime, I’d take KB8 with the fro’/ KB(05-06), when he was dropping 40 like it was 20 and him scoring 100 points was a possibility, over Lebron’s best season.


  67. anyway,the officiating of this series is a complete joke
    Westbrook is far from being my favourite player,very far indeed,but he played super aggressive tonight, super super aggressive,and all he got were 3 free throws?


  68. on a side note,someone on a Thunder fans message board,just mentioned KD becoming the new George Gervin,just points and only points in his production
    well,2 boards for him is really poor contribution


  69. I vote to trade Bynum for a pick and a young talent

    If you start looking at other teams’ rosters and realize that any team trading for Bynum will want him to re-up long-term, you see that actually doing this will not be easy.

    The Lakers’ situation is far more complex than many make it appear to be. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily wrong–it simply means that they are not looking at the entire picture. It is the flip side of people who think that a “full training camp” will make a huge difference.

    As to Williams and Howard, it will have little to do with “Jedi mind tricks.” The Lakers will have a chance to get Williams if Williams tells Brooklyn he would like to play here, and for this year, that is also true of Howard. Ifthe don’t want to play here, the Lakers have no chance. If Howard hits FA in July 2013, the Lakers will have a shot at him if they let Bynum’s deal expire and amnesty Kobe.


  70. Jayz: There’s not really a GOAT Kareem and Russell have legitimate grips with MJ on that.

    LeBron is a once in a generation type player. Maybe this is what Oscar looked like in his days. He wasn’t going up against these athletes LeBron is. We’ve never seen a player like LeBron.

    I love hoops big fan of great basketball. Last year I got caught up in the LeBron hate wagon and found myself not appreciating one of the greats. Same way I always told my friends who hate Kobe to look past whatever personal opinions you have of him and appreciate his greatness. i find myself defending LeBron the same way.


  71. rr,

    If Mitch cannot produce anything from his magic wand in the next two weeks, we are looking at Lakers not being competitive for the next three years.

    Well, if Lakers fail to compete during the lean years, a repeat of 05-07 imagine the void that will be left behind by Kobe + Pau’s contracts plus the inherent pressure in the 2nd biggest media market. I think there will always be players to step in the territory.

    I hope it doesn’t come true, supposing they were dry for three seasons, I don’t foresee Mbrown, Mitch K. and including Jimbo to be around that long to handle the avalanche of criticisms from restive Laker fans, from former players, coaches, from the critical LA sports press and heavy investors from cable media. See what happened to the Dodgers after the long famine, scandals the market forced the pretenders – owners moved out of the team. From the looks of it, PJ is now sniffing at Jimbo on series of twitter released by Hoopshype on what went on with the Lakers this season with the 2 bigs.


  72. Let Sessions walk and pursue Goran Dragic.

    Sessions gave nothing in the playoffs, and that’s when things matter most. Dragic, on the other hand, steps up big time in the postseason.


  73. Just wondering how PJ would do as the coach of the Thunder?

    And, of the two teams in the finals which team would benefit more from the triangle and having a coach like PJ?

    Hypothetically speaking, of course.


  74. Something to keep an eye. (Playoffs included Olympics not)

    Kobe 07-08 to 10-11: 396 games

    LeBron 08-09 to 11-12: 365 games

    Wade 08-09 to 11-12: 335 games

    Kobe flamed out after 4 years of going deep in playoffs. Wade and LeBron are younger but they’ll likely play in the Olympics this year. Lot of miles adding up.


  75. Warren Wee Lim June 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I’m amazed at the intelligence (or lack thereof) of these posters. Trading Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and a late 1st rounder for Sessions and Eyenga is not nothing. Sigh.

    And for what its worth, Sessions starting salary is at my max the amount of salary we committed to paying Luke Walton. That would be approximately 6.1M.

    “Beginning on July 1st, it takes one team to make him an offer that perhaps we couldn’t or would not match,” Kupchak said. “There’s a market value and then there’s always a team that will do something way beyond the market value.”


  76. I said earlier this week that the HEAT would take down OKC and it is happening! The HEAT are wearing down the skinny-wimp Durant and his wannabe crew. The cocky arrogance that was on Harden, Durant, westbrook, ibaka’s faces when they
    beat our weak-minded Lakers is now starting to turn into disbelief and shock! What a pleasure to see them have to eat humble pie!

    James and Wade are just more physical than Durant /Westbrook. OKC’s Inside guys are mediocre! And harden is showing to be average against starter-quality players.

    The only depressing thing about this for me is that it shows just how bad the
    Lakers really are, and it seems like the future is bleak with Jim Buss slowly
    Destroying and dismantling a championship team from just 2 years ago.


  77. I’m amazed at the intelligence (or lack thereof) of these posters

    I wouldn’t call it that; it is more of an overreaction, based on Sessions’ poor playoff performance and the fact that losing draft picks hits people harder right before and during the draft.
    The Sessions deal was a very reasonable move based on the information available at the time, as the mostly positive reaction to it at the time shows. The Hill deal was a little more questionable, but a lot of the complaining about it is simply based on people’s emotional attachment to Fisher.

    A move no one talks about anymore, simply selling off the pick that the Knicks eventually used to get Toney Douglas, was more complaint-worthy than the Hill and Sessions deals by a wide margin.


    The Lakers are at a crossroads, for sure. If they can’t land Williams, and do not appear to be in the running for Howard, then they have some big decisions to make about the three-man core. But for the moment, it is simply a time to wait and see what happens.

    The other thing I will be looking at, reagardless of what happens with the big-money guys, is how they do with the Mini-MLE and the vet min deals this time. The McRoberts signing was reasonable but didn’t work out. Murphy was questionable although I saw the rationale. Kapono was just foolish; the kind of move guys who finish 7th in ten-team fantasy leagues make.

    Whether they land a big fish or they don’t, going forward, the Lakers under Jim Buss need to do better on the little moves this summer, and I think that will be an indicator about the quality of the new management team going forward.


  78. Warren Wee Lim June 20, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Why do people still keep thinking the grass is greener on the other side? (Dwight Howard) … in order to acquire a guy of his stature and to most-likely acquire Hedo and Jameer in the process is a huge blunder I can guarantee Mitch Kupchak will not do. Already Bynum is establishing himself as the better option, his 1st all-star, injury-free season… why do you want to trade him with someone who’s career may not be the same after his procedure?


  79. The Lakers had a great run but watching Thunder/Heat shows how far they’ve declined by comparison.

    The Heat are destroying the Thunder just like they destroyed the Lakers in the regular season these past couple years and just like the Cavs destroyed the Lakers the previous season.

    LBJ is a beast, a true force of nature, and he’s just too good to be denied. And yes, he does have the help he needs now to dominate.

    It seems crystal clear to me the Lakers in their present form are done as title contenders. And, they have limited means to improve – enough – in the short term.


  80. … I’d also venture something has clicked with LBJ.

    He’s figured out to how to win on the biggest stage his sport provides.

    Good news for LeBron; bad news for the competition.


  81. kehntangibles June 20, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I’m kinda amazed at the people carping about the mid-season deals. Draft picks – especially ones where the Lakers would’ve had them – are a crapshoot, and this is a team that’s in a win-now mode because Kobe likely isn’t going to be around when our 2012 picks mature. As many others have said, trades don’t happen in a vaccuum; you have to spend something to get something.

    Maybe we lose Sessions in free agency; maybe we don’t, but it was a risk worth taking, because it was a semi-serviceable point guard which we frankly didn’t have up til then. Walton and Kapono were giving us absolutely nothing; Mitch should’ve gotten a gold medal for convincing someone to take them off our hands. With Sessions and Hill we had a ghost of a chance to compete for a title this year; without them we didn’t. The mid-season deals were the right move for us.

    Moreover, I don’t know if you watched the series, but OKC didn’t beat us because they had Fisher and we didn’t; they beat us because they had Durant/Westbrook and we didn’t. It’s also worth noting that some of the people complaining that we dealt away Fisher were wanting him gone when he was till here; I suspect it’s because they live to complain.


  82. Warren Wee Lim June 20, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Ramon Sessions opting out just allowed the Lakers to assess its position. I know he likes to come back and get a more secure deal but that may not be what the Lakers intend to do.


  83. The fact that Westbrook only got to the line 3 times, with a majority of his points coming from driving the lane makes me sick. There’s no consistency from the refs; breathe on LeBron & he gets a trip to the charity stripe.

    Everyone saying that Kobe should be amnestied needs to have their head checked. Kobe is one of the greatest of all time. He’s won 5 championships as a Laker, and should ride out into the sunset with the franchise (whenever that happens). Management needs to get him some playmakers who can also get their own shot, and probably more important, better coaching to the players already under contract – more movement on offense, cutting to the basket, etc. Laker offense is far too stagnant. One or more of the post players needs to be moved for younger, more athletic players…


  84. Lakers are in trouble and likely be no better than last year.

    No assets. Lakers aren’t getting depth for Pau because of his age and salary. Best case scenario is lottery pick and rookie contracts.

    Ron $6 mil, Luke $5 mil, Blake $4 mil, McRoberts $3 mil, Fisher $4 mil. You’d think Lakers learned their lessons giving out the mid level, mini mid level contracts.


  85. Deron will have to force his way to Lakers. Stated before Brooklyn has marketing, Dallas has no taxes, hometown and Lakers have the best chance at a ring. He could decide Lakers are a average team and take his talents to Dallas. They aren’t hamstrung with cap space Cuban can surrond a potential Deron/Dirk team with solid vets and role players.

    First Take will lose so much muster and Bayless loses instant credibility if LeBron wins a ring this year. After all that is what took his name to the next level is his disdain for LeBron.

    And if I’m Okc the thought of bringing in a coach like Stan Van Gundy looks very intriguing espicially since Brooks turned down the extension.


  86. Fantastic performance by Westbrook … but wow, what a brain fart at the end. His expression when he looked up at the shot clock after his intentional foul and saw 4 instead of 20+ seconds on there was priceless. Poor awareness, and although they didn’t take a timeout before the jumpball, poor job by the coaching staff not making sure their players were aware. The OKC assistant coaches spend the entire game jumping up and down and screaming on the sideline to distract players. You’d think they could have pointed out the shot clock reset to 5, not 24, in the most critical juncture of the game.

    I said during the Lakers-Thunder series that it wasn’t that the Thunder had amazing depth necessarily – it was that they have 3 scoring machines who are capable of scoring in just about every way imaginable (iso, PnR, pindowns/curls, cutting, etc.) As soon as Harden is cut off, now they suddenly look fragile and thin. Harden is definitely following Lebron’s trajectory from last year. I was amazed at how much confidence he’s lost when he didn’t want to take the open 20-footer near the end of the 4th.


  87. Also, while I’m pulling for D-Fish, I couldn’t help but laugh and feel sad at the same time when I saw him put his head down and barrel unnecessarily into the lane on that fast-break in the 4th, and get turned back Wade. Reminded me of the puzzling decisions and PUJITs we often had to put up with here. For a savvy veteran, he does make questionable decisions at times, but it’s part of that stubbornness and pride that makes him such a great locker room presence.


  88. rr,

    I see optimism on four raw Laker players who could inject speed, it’s a matter of redirecting their basketball skills. I’m referring to Morris, McRoberts, Ebanks and Eyenga. They can pace with Westbrook and Parker, however can they shoot, pass, dribble the ball like W and P? That’s another story. Well, Andrew started that way being a raw Center when he was drafted to the Lakers with limited skills and exposure in basketball, it was the Cap who refined his moves. ( yet I don’t hear from him being grateful from the tutorship. He never mention Kareem in his All Star achievements this season.) That is a challenge to Chuck Person how they can transform these speedsters into Air Jordan (not exactly MJ).

    I’ll describe my thoughts in an analogy, those players mentioned are not yet fine furnitures, they’re semi finished products with the structure but lacks finishing and utility value. Of course, the public don’t want to display a raw furniture in their living room but a creative owner can acquire them cheap and transform them to a thing of beauty.


  89. When Fisher was out of control and shooting the PUJIT I found myself yelling nooooo just like when he was a Laker. A reflex reaction.

    Who would of thought OKC would fold like this? Ibaka didn’t miss a jumper for seemingly the whole playoff run, now he looks terrified to even shoot a free throw.


  90. Lets start a petition going to get Magic out of retirement and back in the PG spot!

    -Greg @ Dazadi.com


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