This Sessions Is Over… Get it? Because His Last Name Is Sessions And He Just Got Traded

Zach Harper —  July 27, 2010 — 4 Comments

March 14, 2010: Ramon Sessions of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM.

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.

Zach Harper

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4 responses to This Sessions Is Over… Get it? Because His Last Name Is Sessions And He Just Got Traded

  1. I’m surprised you liked the move (based on most of your Kahn bashing). I think Sessions had a down year, but addition by subtraction can be helpful. If Ridnour puts up close to his production from last year it’ll be an upgrade for the Wolves. Getting rid of Hollins is something I’m all for as well. Both of our free agents from last year were traded (oops). At least he doesn’t blindly stick by players when he thinks they aren’t working out.

    West has good stats, but we aren’t keeping him so that can’t be considered an upside to this move at all. Telfair isn’t exactly a player to get thrilled about either. Overall I’m not a big fan of the move, and giving away a 2nd round pick (if the reports are accurate) is slightly annoying.

    It’s another move that we’ll have to revisit to see if it helps us get into position to get player X/Y/Z in a year or two. Since they’ve been selling hope for 5 years and I’ve still been buying it, why stop now?

  2. i’m fine with the concept of addition by subtraction; it works all the time. i’m fine with wiping the slate clean; sometimes you gotta start from scratch. but kaaaaaahhhhhhnnn is getting rid of players he brought in and cleaning out his own mess. at first i was merely confused and could get a laugh out of his moves, but last night i felt like my chest was caving in when i saw the trade. kaaaahhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnn did it again!

    the company line is going to be that he’s trying to get the payroll down so when the new CBA comes out next year — presumably with a much lower and possibly hard cap — the Tpups could actually be a player for a big name free agent or two. right.

    i’m becoming firmly convinced that glen taylor saw the goings on in oakland and is cutting costs to sell the team. has to. you wouldn’t let this happen for any other reason. and if tpups fans wanna be in denial, remind yourself what red mccombs did before he sold to the wilfs: facilities weren’t improved; no free agent signings; front office cuts. i bet taylor has been watching a lot of “curb appeal” lately as he prepares to flip the squad.

    ok, i’m ending my alarmist, tea party-toned rant now.

  3. Does any of this really matter?

    I can never imagine a day when the name Sessions, Hollins, West (Delonte, not Jerry) or Tellfair is followed by MVP of the NBA Finals. These players are role/bench players, and marginal if that. What Kahn has done in this and other trades is find ways to free up cap space and acquire draft picks for later down the line. No, its not sexy, but he has successfully positioned the Wolves to have tradable assets later on down the line… A feat that McHale could never accomplish after losing four first round picks in the Joe Smith debacle.

    As for some of the puzzling moves that Kahn has made in his tenure as Wolves GM, none of them has been contrary to his approach from Day One, where he stated that he is trying to build a contender in four years. I can’t imagine that any of this information wasn’t made clear to Glen Taylor when he was hired. While this may be difficult for Wolves fans and season ticket holders to swallow, it’s not Kahn’s job to put fans in the seats, but to bring in the right talent to win a championship.

    Personally, I find the harsh criticism he has received by sports writers across the country – and I’m talking to you especially, Bill Simmons – shows complete and shocking ignorance for those who should know better. While I haven’t been a journalist since I wrote for my high school newspaper almost 20 years ago, never did I submit a first draft of an article and expect to receive a Pulitzer for it.

    You write. You edit. You write more. You edit further. You may be in love with a sentence when it first hits the page, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will still be there when you submit your final draft.

    If anything, I applaud Kahn for getting rid of Sessions when he realized Ramon no longer fit the Championship model he was building… Amazing how quick Wolves fans are to forget about Troy ‘Laker Killer’ Hudson, and the six year extension he signed only to languish on the Wolves bench.

    Taylor has given Kahn the helm, and four years to take the Wolves from the outhouse to the penthouse of the NBA. Only until after a champion is crowned in that season, will Kahn’s work be able to be judged as a failure or a success.

  4. @Tricky – I don’t disagree with the point you are making. And it may be easier to swallow that pill if it weren’t for Kahn’s personality and inability to answer any questions he is given, in a straightforward manner. He comes across as a snake. And because of that, it is very difficult to trust him, and VERY easy to bag on him.

    I am a diehard Wolves fan, and I want nothing more than to believe that we are headed in the right direction… but this man makes it very hard to keep the faith. He preaches one message, then goes and does something else. For instance, he keeps saying that they are trying to make this team more atheletic (he has phrased it about 50 different ways… but that is the general idea)… and yet our most recent move was to sign Pekovic, a banger who can’t even pull down boards. And yet they are talking like he is going to be a major role player this year. And that is just one of the many times that he has contradicted himself.

    But the one thing that I do agree with you wholeheartedly on, is that we are going to have to be patient, and see how this all plays out, in a few years. And who knows… maybe everything is going to end up hitting the fan when the new CBA comes into effect. Maybe the Wolves end up walking out of that in better shape than any other team, in the league. Maybe he really does know what he is doing. Maybe… But as of right now, that is all we have- a bunch of maybes and a GM that can’t even do the right things to gain the trust of his players… much less a fan base who got very spoiled by a consistent level of (regular season) success during KG’s tenure as the face of this team. We aren’t very accepting of the concept of going back to the mediocrity tolerant Wolves fans of pre-Garnett.

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