Sessions market coming down to earth… Hakim Warrick… Another center traded East… Charlie Bell wants to do your job

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/crowning-a-new-guard/page-3/The sky still hasn't fallen on the Bucks as they seek to retain Ramon Sessions. And it probably won't, as the market for restricted point guards is neither so lucrative nor so free.

The Knicks, who courted Sessions most heavily, decided they'd rather have veteran Sixers point guard Andre Miller for one year than risk $6 million-plus and escalating on Sessions for a few years. In particular, assigning $6.3 million or so to Sessions next summer wouldn't help the Knicks in the Lebron sweepstakes.  

But Miller turned the Knicks down in favor of a 2-year, $14 million deal with the playoff-ready Portland Trailblazers. The Knicks then went off to talk to Jamaal Tinsley, who won't be nearly as expensive as Miller or Sessions.

Oklahoma City, thought to be in the Sessions market, didn't bother. Word got around, apparently, that the Bucks are prepared to match reasonable offers.

On to LA, where the Clippers thought the Bucks might be interested in trading their matching rights for a trade exception and maybe Sebastion Telfair. But the Bucks aren't interested in trading with the Clippers and the Clippers apparently don't want to spend the sort of money on Ramon that the Knicks and Bucks are prepared to.

And why would Sessions want to join Mike Dunleavy's Baron Davis drama? Then again, why would Sessions want to get in the middle of the Bucks' bias toward Luke Ridnour and newfound crush on Brandon Jennings? Hmm.

Hakim WarrickNow Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Bucks are talking to Memphis Grizzlies power forward Hakim Warrick. That's good — the Bucks need another power player — make that a young power player — to help Andrew Bogut and Amir Johnson in the paint. Ersan Ilyasova's young (though not as young as Turkish basketball says) but he's not a power player.

Hakim Warrick fits the bill. He's also unrestricted, truly a free agent.

But it's also just a rumor. Good evidence though, that GM John Hammond's looking for the right kind of players, and that he may have some plans for the aging big men at the end of the Bucks bench.

(The Bucks signed Warrick to a one-year, $3 mill. deal Friday). Ball Don't Lie likes it, and imagines the atheleticism of a Luc Mbah a Moute-Warrick frontcourt.)

Where does all this leave Ramon Sessions? 

Let's look at Delonte West's deal with Cleveland last summer. Like Sessions, West was a restricted free agent. But he had started 13 playoff games at point for the Cavs, and was looking forward to starting in 08-09. Cleveland made it known they were going to match and West got no offers, settling for 3-yrs, $13 million, with the 3rd year a team option.

So West got just 2 yrs, $8.5 million guaranteed from the Cavs, then went on to play more minutes per game (at shooting guard and point) for the 66-win Lebrons than anybody but Lebron. Yes, West and his defense were on the court more than all-star Mo Williams. That's how they do things in Cleveland.

In Milwaukee, many assume the bidding for Sessions should start with a 2009-10 salary of $5.85 million, the mid-level exception. Andre Miller, a 10-year veteran who led the Sixers to the playoffs the last two seasons, got more than that from Portland — but he's a better player than Sessions right now. Sessions may never be as good as Miller. Of course the Knicks made Miller an offer before Ramon.

Sessions' worth is much more comparable to that of West. Ramon's speed and ability to break down defenses off the drive and make plays is superior; West is a much, much better shooter and a top shelf defender with five years of NBA experience. Overall, West is a better, more proven player whose skills lean to the shooting guard position while Ramon is naturally a point guard. 

I like Ramon and of course I think the Bucks should keep him — but I don't think he's earned a $5.85 million NBA salary. As exciting as Ramon is as a playmaker, let's not forget: Sessions has started 46 games for the Bucks in 1-plus seasons; the Bucks have only won 13 of those.

Ramon's partner-in-crime at the point, Luke Ridnour, is set to make $6.5 million this season, the last on a too-rich contract he signed in Seattle. Lucky Luke, who can't seem to stay healthy for a full NBA season, won't see that kind of money again in his career. To boost Sessions' salary to a similar level is premature by at least a year, maybe two – who knows?  This is one of the reasons why he hasn't received an offer yet.

Back to New York … where "sources" never say die and still think the Knicks are going to make Sessions an offer of around 4-yr, $26m . … The Knicks are supposedly waiting to see if the Bucks release Bruce Bowen Friday. That doesn't make much sense, considering that there's little question the Bucks will release the 38-year-old Bowen and save a coupla million. Bowen, one of the leagues top defenders, wants to return to San Antonio anyway. (Boston's interested in Bowen, too, another sign that he'll either find a way to join a title contender or retire).

What does make sense is that the Knicks will make Sessions an offer, and, more likely than not, it'll bring Sessions and his agent down to earth. But it doesn't mean Sessions'll sign it.

UPDATE: Or not. Looks like the Knicks are close to resigning Nate Robinson and have brought Jason Williams in to help. Ramon and his agent now stand at sea level.

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A center challenge for Bogut: The East got tougher again today (Wednesday), this time for Andrew Bogut. The New Orleans Hornets traded center Tyson Chandler to the Charlotte Bobcats for Emeka Okafor, who hasn't outplayed Bogut in years.

In fact, the Bobcats haven't beaten the Bucks in a game in which Bogut played since Nov. 2, 2007. That's five straight wins, including a 17-board game for Bogut this past season and a 25-point performance in January 2009.

Until he missed half of a blowout win and the final matchup due to his bad back, Bogut had been averaging 15 pts and 12 rebs during the win streak vs. the Cats. A winning matchup for Bogut and for the Bucks. (Game logs link).

Unfortunately, the same can't be said r.e. Chandler. The Hornets 7'1" Chandler tends to outplay Bogut and the Bucks don't beat the Hornets. However, Bogut and Chandler did not meet last season. Chandler (like Bogut) is coming back from an injury-plagued season (in Chandler's case it's his ankle and a slow-healing toe). He'll join Larry Brown's ever-improving team of tough, defensive-minded players. They won't be the same ol' Okafor Bobcats that Bogut (and the Bucks) used to shove around.

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Charlie Bell wants to do your job: Ah, some summer fun from the Bucks. Explain in 200 words or less why Charlie Bell should do your job and Charlie'll help you toil at your place of employment. Five winners will be selected, and, yes, Bucks tickets are to be had too. 

I'd have him help with The Bob Boozer Jinx but they're kinda tight with visiting hours on this ward.

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