A lot of people are not going to believe this but David Kahn did something I like.
Meat And Potatoes Of The Trade
T’Wolves trade Ramon Sessions (3 years, $12.7m), Ryan Hollins (2 years, $4.8 m) and a future second round pick.
Cavaliers trade Sebastian Telfair (1 year, $2.7m) and Delonte West (1 year, $4.5m)
Ryan Hollins and Ramon Sessions both have player options for the final years of their contracts while Delonte West’s contract is only guaranteed for $500,000 if he’s waived by August 5th. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Wolves will waive Delonte West and save themselves the $4 million this year.
So what does this mean for Minnesota?
When Luke Ridnour signed with the Wolves for the exact same contract Ramon Sessions autographed last summer, the writing was on the wall that Sessions would be moved to a new team. I never understood the Sessions signing last summer. I had no problem with him joining the Wolves. But considering Minnesota had just drafted Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, signing another point guard for four years just didn’t make a lot of sense.
Fast forward a year and they’ve signed another point guard to a four-year contract that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me if they have the intention of having Rubio and Flynn running the point for the future of this franchise. Luke Ridnour is the newest floor general signed by David Kahn in what has been a running joke of him trying to acquire all of the point guards in the league. But for once, the running joke against Kahn is a little unfair.
Ridnour is possibly a better point guard than Ramon Sessions in the traditional sense. Sessions is a fantasy basketball legend. He does a nice job of distributing the ball at a high level in the final weeks of the season when the effort is gone in meaningless games. That’s not to belittle what Sessions can do on a basketball court. He is a willing passer and that’s something that can be overlooked in today’s NBA. He doesn’t take a lot of bad shots and rarely will hijack a possession.
But Ramon Sessions was such a liability on defense last year that it’s hard to truly know if he could fit in with this team. Ramon was bad at closing out on shooters and defending guys when isolated. He didn’t fight through screens well or make sure to rotate properly in help. He also doesn’t have great vision for a point guard despite being good at racking up assists. He can miss the obvious play far too much for my liking and with a pass-first point, that’s sort of a problem.
Instead, the Wolves bring in a more veteran and steady presence with Ridnour while bolstering the depth with this trade. Ridnour will be better in the triangle system with a whole lot of tempo than Sessions could have been and a lot of that has to do with his three-point shooting. It’s hard to believe a career 34.7% shooter (career-high 38.1% last season) from long range can be a huge upgrade. However, Ridnour does make the defense have to account for him on the perimeter. Sessions and his 10 career three-point makes do accomplish that whatsoever.
With West already gone, it’s essentially a swap of Sessions and Hollins for Sebastian Telfair. Is this a little one-sided? Absolutely. But is this trade good for the franchise? I believe it is.
A team in the process of rebuilding doesn’t need four potential point guards. Let’s play Make Believe and trick ourselves into thinking Rubio will willingly come to this franchise in the 2011-12 season. Then you’ve got Rubio signed for four years, Flynn signed to two more years (assuming the Wolves pick up his two team options), Sessions signed for two more years (assuming he picks up his player option) and Luke Ridnour to three more seasons. That is way too much salary and time wrapped up into the same one-dimensional position.
Cutting bait with Sessions before the contract became an albatross was the way to go. And at the same time, they got rid of a horrible big man option by jettisoning Ryan Hollins. Hollins was another big man in this league that owed a big portion of his contract to Jason Kidd. He played with Kidd in Dallas for a portion of the ’08-’09 season and he looked much better than he actually is because of it. He wasn’t given a ridiculous three-year contract like Mikki Moore got with the Kings a couple of years ago after playing with Kidd but he still got a three-year contract that didn’t make any sense.
But now? The Wolves no longer have to worry about that.
They’ve been able to rid themselves of two contracts that don’t fit and don’t make sense. This is a key when rebuilding with some sense of fiscal responsibility. Being able to get rid of superfluous and unnecessary contracts before they become a burden is huge. It allows contracts like Darko’s signing and Luke Ridnour’s signing to be much easier to digest as a bitter fan base.
The Wolves have carved out even more cap space without sacrificing legitimate building blocks to do so. Even though I’m a firm believer that Kahn should be criticized for the majority of the decisions he’s made in his 14 months on the job, for once he’s making a move that makes short and long-term sense.