School Is In Sessions
Without a doubt, the dumbest headline I've come up with to date, but hey, we got him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO-j-WQ0fG8&feature=related). Adding Ramon Sessions on a four year deal that will pay him 3.7 million this year and slightly increasing from there on is an incredible steal. He's only 23 years old and has played in fewer than 100 NBA games. In that time he has shown the ability to be a big time scorer and distributor. His single game career high in points is 44. His single game career high in assists is 24. Detract, criticize, nitpick all you want, but you can't put up those kinds of numbers and not have some pretty special abilities. If you aren't familiar with Sessions' game think Randy Foye except with actual point guard skills and vision, the ability to drive to his left, superior quickness and more appealing upside.
Getting this kind of talent for such little risk is surprising but what really stuns me about the whole thing is that Milwaukee was willing to let him go. Yeah I know, they didn't want to go over the luxury tax. But they would have had several months to get under the tax before they'd have to pay for it. Seems like they could have found a salary dump situation somewhere in that time frame. I honestly feel for Milwaukee fans, largely out of empathy. Moves like this give the appearance of a team in a full on, down to the studs rebuild. In the same breath, they've added guys like Hakim Warrick, Carlos Delfino and Kurt Thomas this offseason. They let Mo Williams go. But then they re-up Dan Gadzuric for 7+ mil a season. They trade for Richard Jefferson and then trade him away a year later. But then they appear unwilling to part with Michael Redd. I'm sure Buck insiders have more perspective but from my view they look like a total mess.
The End of the Songalia Era
Another week. Another Timberwolves trade. Another savy transaction by the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's still feels foreign to say that on a regular basis.
Darius Songalia is shipped along with Bobby Brown to New Orleans for Antonio Daniels. Yes, THE Antonio Daniels. I've made it a habit every time the Wolves make a trade (feels like a dozen or so times this offseason) to read about it on the website of the local Minneapolis paper. Not so much for the reporting, but rather for the comments section below the article where readers can post their various thoughts. It's pretty hilarious sometimes.
A typical response to one of the many executed deals goes something like "We traded what for who?" or "I didn't even know that guy was on our team" or "What was the point of this?" or "Fire McHale!" (some people just can't let go). I've got to admit that to the casual fan these deals must seem quite pointless. Any time Etan Thomas or Quentin Richardson is the marquee name in a deal you know it's only for the hardest core of fans. The appearance of a flurry of marginal players being shuffled out then in and then out again is sort of bizarre when you don't fully consider the business related implications of the deal. But as we have come to trust from Kahn, there is always a business angle to his transactions. After all, bringing this organization out of financial hell was one of the many tasks he was charged with upon hiring.
Take this latest deal for example. It's hard to get too excited about adding Antonio Daniels or conversly, depressed about losing Darius Songalia or Bobby Brown. So why do this trade? First of all, Bobby Brown makes almost no money and from a talent standpoint is worthless to an NBA squad, but could probably carve out a serviceable niche in the NBDL if given the opportunity. So eliminate his perceived value from the equation. It comes down to Daniels for Songalia. Songalia makes 3 million dollars less than Daniels for this upcoming season, so in the short term it allows New Orleans to add a solid roleplayer and save a little cash. For the Wolves, taking on that extra money doesn't matter because they aren't competing this year anyways. Next year is when the Wolves "win" the trade. Daniels is a straight up expiring contract. They can either package him in a trade to some luxury taxed team at the deadline or simply let his contract expire at season's end. Songalia, on the other hand, has a player option built into his contract next year for 4.9 mil, which he will undoubtedly pick up regardless of where he is playing. The Wolves clear another 5 or so million for the vaunted 2010 NBA offseason. Like I said, yet another savy move for the Wolves while New Orleans, already hemorraghing money, sets itself up for one more run in 2009 and then a brutal firesale to follow.Looking ahead to next offseason, there's a number of past their prime vets like Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady, Richard Hamilon and Steve Nash that would probably serve no purpose to the young and building T-Wolves. Then there's the megastars like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudamire, Joe Johnson and Yao Ming. After that there's the second tier stars like Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Howard, Rajon Rondo, Michael Redd and Al Harrington. After that there's a ton of quality role players that will be available, but the Wolves are pretty set on roleplayers.
This also hints at another interesting suggestion: the Wolves seriously believe they are going to be big time players in next year's free agency extravaganza. Why else would they keeping clearing every dollar they could, even by means of taking on excessive contracts for this season? Under past regimes you could cite cheapness or ineptitude or even insanity. That's the old regime. This new one is different. By all accounts, this new regime knows what it's doing. A novel idea for sure.
So who in that group can the Wolves seriously land? Is the whole desired location thing being overrated while straight cash, homey is being underrated? If the Wolves nip at some heels this year and give the appearance of a team on the rise will they be able to lure someone to Minnesota on that potential? I have my thoughts on the matter, but what do you think?