New York Knicks fans were pretty excited last week about the prospects of picking up Ramon Sessions. The Bucks 23-year-old point guard certainly can't shoot or run a game like veteran Andre Miller, the Sixers pointman whom the Knicks also courted — but Sessions' ability to break defenses down off the dribble has made him one of the more exciting young point guards in the NBA.
But just because Brandon Jennings has potential and the Knicks want Sessions (as do the Clippers) doesn't mean the Bucks will just let him go bite the big apple. After talks with Sessions/his agent last week, the Knicks apparently decided to look elsewhere. If the Knicks tendered to Ramon an offer (in the neighborhood of 4-yrs, $26 million), he hasn't accepted it, a good indication that the Bucks aren't letting their young point guard slip away so easily.
The latest is that Miller accepted an offer from the Trailblazers (3 yrs, $21 million) that the Knicks couldn't compete with … and now they're setting their sights on the Pacers' Jamaal Tinsley, who sat out last season feuding with Pacers' management (and other drama). If the Knicks are settling for Tinsley, then Sessions, like Miller, may now be beyond their reach.
What should the Bucks do?
1) Take a less passive approach and sign Sessions. Whatever happens with the development of Jennings, the Bucks need to make sure that they've got some player resources to trade with when opportunities to improve come along.
2) Ignore the Clippers, please. So far the Bucks haven't shown much interest in cutting a deal that would open the door for the Clippers to sign Sessions, and this is a good thing. Just because the Clippers are interested has very little bearing on the Bucks priority of moving forward with the right players. No reason to let the Clippers dictate Bucks roster moves as the team builds to the next era.
3) Continue to seek trade options with Luke Ridnour and move forward with Sessions and Jennings at the point. Three point guards are one too many, and Luke hasn't made it through a full NBA season in years. No, he's not as attractive to other teams as Sessions and coach Skiles likes him, but a trade opportunity will come along eventually. Kurt Thomas, acquired from the Spurs in the RJ trade, is the kind of veteran with playoff experience who'll help Bucks GM Hammond pull another deal or two together in the coming months.
Ball Don't Lie weighs in, resting on the idea that Sessions and Bucks coach Scott Skiles aren't such a good match. BDL writer Kelly Dwyer happens to be a Bulls fan, which makes BDL a good source when it comes to Scott Skiles basketball. However, just because Sessions had to share the point with Ridnour last season (despite outplaying him all year) doesn't mean that Skiles is cultivating some sort of fued with his young point guard. Of course, this is a good example of how Bulls fans think, having gone through the Skiles years. Skiles and Sessions worked on Ramon's point game all last season, and they worked hard. The facts of Ramon's free agency and the potential of Jennings don't translate into a lack of interest in Sessions, who's been a Bucks bright spot ever since he arrived from the D-League.
Brewhoop has more Sessions related notes.
Journal Sentinel's Michael Hunt is on the Brandon Jennings bandwagon, but he winds up his most recent Bucks column with observations that sound to me like very good reasons to hang on to Sessions for a season or two:
"But if they can't start surrounding Andrew Bogut with some genuine talent soon, all those sound financial decisions won't amount to a hill of used basketballs. That means Jennings absolutely cannot flop. That means Ersan Ilyasova showing something, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute learning to make shots and Joe Alexander getting it together as a bridge to the future. Eventually, they must begin demonstrating their value to the Bucks or someone else as trade potential."
Speaking of Ersan Ilyasova, he's officially a Buck. It does occur to me that his game doesn't translate into "NBA power forward" quite as well as Charlie Villanueva's did (no matter how much the Bucks may say it does; remember, when Joe Alexander was drafted, GM Hammond said Joe was a power forward, too.) The realistic hope is that Ersan's better, more consistent perimeter game will help the Bucks improve. But the Bucks still need more power down low than Ersan can provide. Amir Johnson should help in this area, and the versatility of Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexander and Ersan to go along with Andrew Bogut gives the Bucks young front court some nice potential if coach Skiles can figure out how to rotate them all. It's not such a bad situation for now.
But looking at the East and the power that the Cavs (Shaq), Celtics (Sheed) and Magic (Bass) added this offseason, checking the Bulls and Heat's interest in Carlos Boozer and the Heat's offer to Laker Lamar Odom … the Bucks need more power. So do quite a few teams as the East's imbalance grows and grows.
Cavs improve again: The NBA's best keep getting better this summer. The Cavs picked up Jamario Moon, who started at forward for both the Raptors and Heat last season, after the Heat decided not to match Cleveland's $3.2 million offer. The Heat figure to play Michael Beasley more, and this week tendered an offer to Odom.
Moon, an athletic, good shooting forward, was tough on the Bucks when he was in Toronto, always seeming to make plays and hit big shots. Oh, and he's a good defender, too. Moon'll give the Lebrons even more depth and more versatility than they had as a 65-win monster. And Shaq too. Cripes.