For Cavs, Sessions trade makes sense
Ohio — Let’s
get this out of the way first: The Cavaliers loved Ramon Sessions.
They loved his professionalism, his performance, the way he handled backing up
the prize of their future, rookie point guard Kyrie Irving.
They also liked how Sessions averaged around 18 points and 11 assists in four
starts when Irving was out.
“Ramon did some good things for us,” Cavs general manager Chris Grant said.
“We’ll cheer him as he moves on … except when he plays against us of course.”
Grant spoke from the Cavs’ practice facility Thursday, when they shipped
Sessions and little-used swingman Christian Eyenga to the Lakers for a 2012 first-round
pick and forwards Luke Walton and Jason Kapono.
Walton, who turns 32 later this month, has only played in nine games this
season. He has had some back issues and fell out of favor with defensive-minded
Lakers coach Mike Brown.
Kapono, 31, is talented perimeter shooter who may or may not fit into coach
Byron Scott’s rotation.
But neither Walton nor Kapono were the reason this deal was made.
The real bottom line was the fact Sessions can opt out of his contract at
season’s end — and the Cavs had to be fearful of losing him for nothing. Plus,
what they really wanted in this deal was the first-round pick. That gives them
two for the next draft, as well as the right to swap their second first-rounder
(from Miami) with the Lakers in 2013. That pick isn’t protected, either.
For those confused, here’s the short version: The Cavs get to flip their least
desirable pick in 2013 with the Lakers.
“Obviously, Ramon had an option at end of season,” Grant pointed out. “I know
there’s 13 teams with significant cap space this summer. Hopefully, he plays
well. … For us, it was pick certainty.”
The Cavs will now begin their search for Irving’s new backup, at least for the rest
of this season. They’ll scan the waiver wire and D-League, and see what
develops. For now, veteran Daniel Gibson will handle the role.
Meanwhile, Sessions should become a starter with the Lakers, who dealt veteran
Derek Fisher to Houston to create some room. So it will be Sessions, truly a
pro’s pro during his 1½ seasons in Cleveland, lining up next to Kobe Bryant,
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as the Lakers aim to make a run at another title.
If Sessions continues at his current pace, well, you never know. He was darn
good in his role with the Cavs this season, making leaps as an outside shooter
and distributor. He may be exactly what the Lakers need.
“I’m excited,” Sessions told FOX Sports Ohio of his trade to Los Angeles. “The
Lakers are rich in tradition, talent and success. I’m very appreciative they’re
giving me the opportunity.”
As excited as Sessions is about the move to the Lakers, he’s equally
appreciative of his time in Cleveland.
“He will always be grateful for the fans, the city and the organization,” said
Jared Karnes, Sessions’ agent. “It was special for him.”
While both sides part ways with a bit of sadness, this move makes the most
sense for the Cavs in the long run. They received something valuable for the
valuable player they lost, especially when considering they could have lost
Sessions for nothing over the summer.
That counts for a lot.
“We want to continue to create and keep our flexibility,” Grant said. “We would like to keep as
much flexibility as (we) can.”
Right now, the Cavs have plenty as they enter the next phase of the franchise.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO