Finally: Sessions signs four year, $16 million offer sheet with Minnesota

Update: Via Wyn at Canis Hoopus, Marc Stein tweets that Sessions' offer sheet is worth $3.671 million in the first year of the deal with max 8% raises thereafter: $3.964 million in 10/11, $4.258 million in 11/12, and $4.551 million in 12/13.

A day after Gery Woelfel first suggested it, ESPNs Chris Sheridan reports that Ramon Sessions is indeed signing an offer sheet with the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Sheridan reports the deal is worth $16.4 million over four years, including a player option for the fourth season.  As you might guess, the consensus is that the Bucks will not match the offer, which would leave Sessions battling Jonny Flynn for the starting point guard spot in Minnesota, though he's also likely to see minutes at SG as well.  As for the Bucks, Luke Ridnour will play the role of unthreatening veteran competition to Brandon Jennings, while the newly acquired Roko Ukic will likely have to settle for plenty of DNPs and hope Ridnour (and his expiring deal) is eventually shipped out before the trade deadline.  Per Charles Gardner at the JS, John Hammond is keeping his poker face for at least another day:

"We have seven days in which to make our decision," Hammond said. "We'll explore all our options within that time period."

 

 

Despite a very promising first two season in Milwaukee, the writing has been on the wall for Sessions' departure for some time.  Realistically, the first hints came last fall when a disappointing camp allowed Ridnour to snag the starting PG spot, which started the Skiles-loves-Ridnour conspiracy talk.  In truth Ridnour wasn't a bad complement to a pretty potent offensive lineup featuring Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, and Andrew Bogut, but over the course of the season there wasn't much doubt who the better player was.


That became especially clear after Redd and Bogut went down. Sessions averaged 18.5 ppg and 7.4 apg in February, and after a spotty March finished the season by averaging a double-double in April (14.0 ppg, 10.4 apg).  And while he suffered his share of defensive lapses and struggled to keep defenses honest from the perimeter (.376 eFG% on jumpers), it's tough to deny that Sessions knows how to play.  He got into the lane at will, drew fouls, and had natural point guard instincts--how many other 23 year olds have had both a 44-point game and a 24-assist game on their resume? 

But while the Wolves seem to have embraced the idea of diversifying their point guard risk by bringing in Sessions to compete against Flynn (and potentially bridge the gap to when Ricky Rubio arrives), the Bucks seem more intent on keeping a clear succession plan in place, effectively pinning all of the their future hopes on Jennings. I hope it works--and the little we've seen from Jennings has certainly been promising--but it's still a gamble.  If the Bucks don't match the Wolves' offer, expect to hear their tax constraints cited ad nauseum, but in reality it's a bit of a red herring.  While the Bucks have only about $1.6 million left under the tax, they would have had the room to bring back Sessions if they had passed on Hakim Warrick and Carlos Delfino, kept Amir Johnson for PF depth, and let Joe Alexander and Luc Mbah a Moute try to hold down the SF spot.

If there's a positive side to letting Sessions walk, it's that it means the Bucks avoid another multi-year salary obligation and can focus on developing Jennings.  Their longer-term flexibility remains intact, though 2011 cap space isn't likely to inspire many high fives in the aisles of the BC this year.  More importantly, Sessions' combination of youth and affordability would seem consistent with the direction the Bucks are headed.  Perhaps there's more to it behind the scenes but at this point it's only speculation.  Still, the fact that Sessions' best friend on the team was Charlie Villanueva and Mo Williams was considered a mentor seems rather fitting now that he's on the verge of departing.

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