After trading Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz for two first-rounders, a newfound $25 million or so in cap room, and a chance to give Michael Beasley some serious burn (by the way, Kevin Love says, B-Easy or no, he’s not feeling another year of sixth-man limbo–anybody know how this is gonna work?) David Kahn strongly hinted that the party was not over. “We’re only about halfway through this exercise,” he said on the eve of the Jefferson deal. Apparently an essential facet of the exercise was signing Luke Ridnour. AP’s John Krawczynski reports on that:
With so many baby-faced players on a roster that is in the middle of a massive overhaul, team president David Kahn put a priority on adding some experience to help the young Minnesota Timberwolves grow together.
The first veteran addition didn’t come cheap. The Timberwolves agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with free agent point guard Luke Ridnour, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
This probably also tells us that Ramon Sessions, the Wolves current backup point guard, is on his way to a (hopefully) happier place. Krawczynski continues:
The deal likely means that Sessions, who signed a contract nearly identical to Ridnour’s last summer, will be traded. Sessions’ agent told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has heard about discussions with several teams, but a deal has yet to be completed.
Let me tell you what this makes me wonder. Over their careers, Ridnour’s and Sessions’s stats are awfully similar (Ridnour’s sample size, of course, being quite a bit bigger than Ramon’s). Sessions boasts a career PER of 15.6 to Ridnour’s 14.5 Sessions’s true shooting percentage is .519, while Ridnour’s is .512. Dimes? Sessions’s assist rate is 31% while Ridnour’s is 29.7%. Turnover rate? 15.9% for Sessions, 15.5 for Ridnour. Even defensively, the two players’ profiles are remarkably similar.
So what’s this about? As mentioned above, veteran leadership was something sorely lacking from the Wolves’ lineup last year; Ridnour certainly provides that–although Sessions, despite his relative youth, offered a quiet, steady contrast to Jonny Flynn’s exuberant vocal stylee. I certainly hope this isn’t an overreaction to Sessions’s disappointing stats last season and Ridnour’s career year (Luke’s PER and true shooting percentage were significantly higher last year than in any of his previous six seasons–which suggests that they’re more than likely an aberration).
Because if anyone got a rotten deal last year, it wasn’t Jefferson or Kevin Love, but Sessions. For an entire season, he watched from the sidelines as Flynn received on-the-job training from the Wolves’ starting unit. Ramon, meanwhile, had to make do with the truly impressive cast D-Leaguers and Eurostars on the Wolves’ bench–and I’ll tell you, that crew could suck the life out of anybody’s game. Over and over, Sessions found himself the most competent scorer on the floor, forced to shoulder the man’s share of the offensive burden.
Suffice to say, this did not play to his strengths. Watching Sessions’s game slowly deteriorate after thousands of minutes spent next to Ryan Hollins and Sasha Pavlovic was one of the least appetizing facets of the Wolves long, grisly season. I’m pretty sure that Ramon Sessions is an awfully good basketball player. He doesn’t deserve what he got (and what, it seems, he’s getting) here in Minneapolis.