Woelfel: Clips back in for Sessions?
A week ago there seemed to be no stopping the New York Knicks from finally getting Ramon Sessions' signature on an offer sheet. After all, the Bucks' decision to sign Hakim Warrick to a one-year, $3 million deal meant they were only about $2.3 million under the tax, and Sessions' preference for New York was something of a no-brainer. Yet despite reports that the Knicks are simply biding their time with Sessions (see next bullet), Gery Woelfel reports the Clips have also re-emerged as a potential destination.
The scuttlebutt around the NBA is the Clippers and Bucks are discussing a sign-and-trade scenario with Sessions, a restricted free agent, being the central figure.The Clips have a sizable trade exception ($7.3 million per ESPN) which would greatly simplify the BYC issues I usually harp on with any Sessions S/T scenarios. That could also work out from the Bucks' perspective, since they'd like to get something of value but don't have a lot of flexibility to take salary back in return. Realistically, a protected first round pick or perhaps DeAndre Jordan would be good value for Sessions at this point--Telfair I couldn't care less about--especially given the likelihood that the Bucks could lose Ramon for nothing. Still, that leaves a couple other important questions. Is L.A. willing to pony up a real asset for the right to sign Sessions long term? And would Sessions really want to back up Baron Davis instead of taking a cheaper deal to start for Mike D'Antoni? My initial reaction is that as much as the Bucks and Clips might want to deal, Sessions will prefer to hold out for a Knicks' gig. Besides, if the Clips want Sessions they have their full MLE with which to make him an offer--and it doesn't seem likely the Bucks would match anything close to that.
The Clippers would ideally like to include point guard Sebastian Telfair in the deal, and have also tossed out some other possibilities, including a draft pick.
If the Clippers can't come to an agreement with the Bucks on a sign-and-trade arrangement, there are growing indications they'll extend an offer sheet to Sessions.
Newsday: Knicks biding their time with Sessions
Alan Hahn has been expecting a deal for Sessions to get done and remains optimistic that Ramon will end up a Knick.
So what's the holdup? Seems simple: Donnie Walsh doesn't want to just hand Sessions a blank check to fill in the full MLE (five years, $33.9M). To paraphrase an NBA executive I spoke with about the situation recently, "that's how you wind up with Jared Jeffries."So is it a coincidence that the Clippers get back in the picture as soon as the Knicks appear to be getting smug? Doubtful. L.A.'s reemergence could certainly be Wells' attempt to manufacture some leverage for his client, despite reports that Sessions quite understandably doesn't want to go to L.A. As much as I'd prefer to get something for Sessions, a straight offer from the Knicks still seems the most logical outcome.
So here's where, if you're a GM, you take a breath, hold your cards and glance across the table.
Sessions' agent, Jim Wells, has only one client. He also doesn't have many other viable options. The Clippers are in the periphery, but if they were hot for Sessions why haven't they made an offer yet? And with Baron Davis, Sebastian Telfair and Eric Gordon in the backcourt, there is far less minutes for Sessions -- a combo guard -- in LA.
MacKenzie: Jennings' Swagger
All aboard the Bucks bandwagon! Sure, you'll have a hard time finding anyone in the media willing to endorse the Bucks as playoff contenders, but that doesn't mean the Bucks aren't getting some love. Following in the footsteps of Sam Amico and Skeets (kinda), I'm pleased to report that Holly MacKenzie of SLAM and The Score has officially named the Bucks her "pet" team of the season.
I'd prefer "pick to win NBA title" but for a team as chronically irrelevant as the Bucks, I'll take it. In what will hopefully be the first of many articles about the Bucks this season, Holly has her take on Brandon Jennings from Vegas--fitting when you consider that Jennings' promise has as much to do with the Bucks' newfound street cred as anything else.
Rather than shutting out media and opting to shun some of those whom have tried to sell an image of him that isn't fair let alone factual, Jennings greets the reporters waiting with a smile and an ease that belies both age and previous experience. When questions are asked about Italy and his decision to be a trailblazer, when people choose to report on his rocky start rather than focus on his 8.2 assist-per-game average when it was over, Jennings smiles. He smiles and plays this game because he knows at the end of the day, he gets to wake up tomorrow and get paid to play his game.
For this reason alone, regardless of stats, he wins.
Rovell: Bucks quick and creative with ticket plans
Darren Rovell takes note of the good people in the Bucks' ticketing department.
The Bucks, whose entire schedule of games and offers was up within an hour of when the schedule came out, are offering a Click 'N Pick plan that enables fans to buy six- and ten-game packages featuring any combination of seats. For example, if a fan wants to sit close for the game against Cleveland and is fine with sitting up in the rafters for the Lakers game, he or she can mix and match and create their own a-la-carte plan. The six-game package comes with one free game and the 10-game package comes with two free games.