Sacramento Kings Find Free-Agent Steal with Ramon Sessions Signing

The Sacramento Kings opted to work out a sign-and-trade that sent former point guard Isaiah Thomas to the Phoenix Suns rather than pay him the four-year, $27 million contract he ultimately commanded.

And while the addition of Darren Collison goes a ways toward offsetting that loss, the organization remained in need of backcourt depth—particularly after agreeing to trade 15-year veteran Jason Terry to the Houston Rockets.

With the 2014-15 season suddenly around the corner, Sacramento has taken action.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that, “Free-agent guard Ramon Sessions has reached agreement on a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Sacramento Kings, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”

The deal—which, as Wojnarowski notes, uses the biannual exception—is a low-risk venture for the franchise.

Sessions remains a capable rotation player and has proven throughout his seven-year career that he can start in a pinch. The 28-year-old averaged 12.3 points and 4.1 assists after splitting time between the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) and Milwaukee Bucks.

After playing his first 55 games (and the 2012-13 season) in Charlotte, Sessions’ playing time swelled to 32.5 minutes per contest in 28 games with Milwaukee, yielding a corresponding spike in production and efficiency.

Given the right opportunities, the Nevada product has certainly had his moments.

The Kings reportedly view Sessions as a combo-guard.

USA Today‘s Sam Amick notes that he, “will be used at both the point guard and shooting guard positions,” a testament both to Sessions’ versatility and the extent to which Sacramento may view him as an integral part of the rotation. 

NBCSports.com’s Brett Pollakoff went so far as to suggest that, “It could easily be argued that Sessions is the best point guard on the roster, and deserving of a spot in the team’s starting lineup.”

Though Collison—who’s scheduled to make $16 million over the next three seasons—figures to have a better shot at that starting job, the point remains that Sessions probably won’t have to beg for playing time. The last two summers’ lottery picks—Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas—should see plenty of minutes at shooting guard, but Sessions’ experience makes him an attractive option at both backcourt positions.

Reserve point guard Ray McCallum—taken with the 36th overall pick in 2013—is entering just his second season.

As The Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones notes, “The Kings were looking for a veteran ball-handler to go with Collison, because McCallum is still a young player, and the only other option to run the offense might have been rookie Stauskas.”

So there’s a very real need for someone of Sessions’ pedigree.

To be sure, Sessions won’t radically alter Sacramento’s fate. This is still a team coming off of a 28-win season. It’s still a team that gave up 103.4 points per contest last season, ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency according to Hollinger’s NBA Team Statistics.

The 6’3″ Sessions affords head coach Mike Malone some valuable size (and skill) at the point guard spot, but he certainly won’t reverse the club’s fortunes single-handedly.

If we’re being honest, there’s a reason he was still available this late in the offseason despite being in the prime of his career. While the Houston Rockets were reportedly interested in acquiring him from Milwaukee via sign-and-trade, the market for Sessions’ services has been anything but robust.

He’s not a top-shelf defender, and his inability to stick with a franchise for any extended period of time has to make you wonder. 

A career that’s spanned five different teams and a variety of roles on and off the bench has yet to translate into a long-term home. That once seemed bound to change when Sessions was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012.

After 23 regular-season games and mixed postseason results, however, the two sides parted ways when Sessions opted to pursue a more stable situation elsewhere.

“It was one of those situations I looked at like, ‘If I do come back what if they trade me?’” Sessions told Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears after signing with Charlotte. “There were talks about getting Deron [Williams]. They always wanted the bigger-named guy. What if I get traded to a team and it’s my contract year?”

Ultimately, Charlotte wasn’t the answer, and Sessions was traded in February along with Jeff Adrien to Milwaukee in exchange for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.

Sessions has come a long way. He was drafted with the 56th overall pick in 2007 and spent time in the NBA Development League with the Tulsa 66ers during the 2007-08 season. 

Just remaining in the league is an accomplishment in its own right. Nothing has come easily for Sessions.

But as early as 2008, he dropped 24 assists in a game with the Bucks. In 2009, he scored a career-high 44 points in an overtime loss against the Detroit Pistons. Later that season, he posted his first triple-double (which included 16 assists) against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Those are signs of undeniable talent, and finding the right team fit may very well pave the way for similar results.

Is Sacramento that fit?

Possibly.

Malone has cultivated some much-needed stability and toughness, perhaps laying a foundation for the kind of defensive transformation that might finally elevate this team into the playoff picture for the first time since 2006.

Center DeMarcus Cousins has matured before our eyes and will be coming off of a successful tour with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Kings teammate Rudy Gay joined him in Spain and will look to build upon last season’s solid debut during his first full season in Sacramento.

And promising youth abounds. Beyond McLemore, Stauskas and McCallum, 23-year-old forward Derrick Williams is still looking to vindicate his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in 2011 (by the Minnesota Timberwolves).

Again, if we’re being honest, things could go either way for the Kings.

This could be the season they turn the corner, perhaps doing their best impersonation of last season’s surprising Phoenix Suns. But it could also be just another step in what’s become a protracted rebuilding process.

Either way, Sessions should have every opportunity to prove he belongs.

While he may not be an overnight sensation in Sacramento, there’s little doubt he’s the kind of bargain that could make a front office look good. 

And as an affordable last-minute addition, he certainly won’t make this front office look bad. 

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We Remember: 30th Anniversary of Michael Jordan Signing with Chicago Bulls

On this date, 30 years ago, Michael Jordan officially became a member of the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan—the No. 3 overall pick in the 1984 draft—was just 21 years old when he signed his first professional contract. Of course, this signing turned out to be a franchise-altering move for Chicago.

The rookie out of North Carolina helped the Bulls make the playoffs in his first season and won the 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year award. It was a good first season in the league, but it was just the start of things to come.

Jordan led Chicago to six NBA championships, winning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award in each one. He won five NBA MVP awards and made 14 All-Star teams in his career. 

Jordan retired after the 2002-03 season, which he spent with the Washington Wizards. 

[NBA.com, NBA

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Cavs announce Shawn Marion signing (Yahoo Sports)

Shawn Marion knows what it takes to win an NBA championship. The Cavs hope his experience will help them get one. Cleveland signed the veteran free agent forward Tuesday, adding a player with an extensive postseason resume to a team targeting an NBA title. Marion agreed to a one-year contract with the Cavs last month, but the sides didn’t make it official until Tuesday.

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Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shannon Brown Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
Terms: 1 season, $1.3M
The Miami Heat made a minor splash by signing combo-guard Shannon Brown to a one-year deal. Brown played sparingly for the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs last season, averaging a measly 2.2 ppg in 29 total games between the two teams. Brown signed with both teams with little chance of cracking their rotation, so hopefully for Brown, signing with the Heat is a fresh, fair start for him to regain his Phoenix form, where, in two seasons there, he averaged 10.7 ppg in 23.7 mpg.
With Dwyane Wade firmly locked in as the Heat’s starting SG, don’t expect Brown to get the minutes he got in Phoenix, but don’t expect him to get the miniscule amount of minutes he received in his short stints in New York and San Antonio either. Dwyane Wade will have to take on a bigger scoring load and won’t be able to rest games like he did last season, but he’ll likely miss a few if his knees continue to…

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Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade

Miami Heat: Shawne and Reggie Williams Signing Grade
Nekias Duncan, Lead Writer/Hoopstuff…
With the roster nearly set, the Miami Heat decided to add some more wing depth by adding a pair of Williams’, Shawne and Reggie.
Shawne Williams, a 6’9 forward from Memphis, played a stint for the Lakers last season as a hybrid 3/4 under Mike D’Antoni. Williams averaged 5.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 20.9 mpg last season for Los Angeles. Williams is a 3 & D forward without much three; he’s only a 33.3% shooter from behind the arc for his career, although he does shoot 38.3% on corner threes for his career. However, Williams’ ability to guard 2s, 3s, and some 4s could prove to be valuable in a bench role.
On the other hand, forward Reggie Williams isn’t that good of a defender, but he CAN shoot the rock. This Williams is a career 37.1% three-point shooter, but hasn’t played much in the last two seasons, only averaging 9.5 mpg in Charlotte, and 5.7 mpg last year with the Thunder. Assuming he sticks …

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Chicago Bulls Interested in Signing NBA Journeyman

The Chicago Bulls may be passing up on signing area product E’Twaun Moore and heading in a different direction. News out of Brazil is suggesting that the Bulls may be interested in signing NBA Journeyman Leandro Barbosa.
Barbosa has played for five NBA teams, most notably the Phoenix Suns, as well as teams in Brazil over the past few seasons. During Team USA’s game with Brazil during the FIBA World Cup friendlies, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had meetings with both Brazil’s entrepreneurs and Barbosa himself.

While Thibs would like to have a veteran over a younger player, the Bulls may be nearing the salary cap. Barbosa would likely come at a one year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.5 million. The Miami Heat are also interested in the free agent as well.

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Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing

Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
The Bulls have just 12 players signed for next season, one being their 2nd round pick Cameron Bairstow who isn’t going to be playing much and could be in the D-League, so they can sign 3-4 more players and if he is in the D-League they have to sign 2 to get to the minimum 13 players. So they still have some work in filling the roster. There is still some strong talents that are free agents and there are some players that could help them, so here are 4 free agents they should consider signing.. However they would have to be minimum signings.
1. Emeka Okafor- C
- If Okafor was on this team, he would at best be their 4th big man, maybe 5th, but the Bulls still lack a 2nd center and he is the best free agent who isn’t Eric Bledsoe or Greg Monroe. It is doubtful that he would take a minimum to play a small role, but there is no harm in trying to sign a player that fits the team perfectly and …

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion signing a big win

The Cleveland Cavaliers just keep adding power to their roster as they signed NBA veteran and four time All-Star, Shawn Marion.
With LeBron James returning to Cleveland and Kevin Love awaiting his trade date, the Cavaliers are in good shape to reach a championship. With the salary cap looking slim, the Cavaliers signed Marion for a one year deal worth $1.4 million dollars.
Sources say that Marion was thinking about signing with the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Miami Heat. He is on a mission to win a championship just like LeBron James was four years ago when he signed with Miami.
Marion brings a strong defensive game, and he averaged 15.8 points throughout his career as well as 9.0 rebounds. He also brings a lot of playoff experience, as he has been in the playoffs 10 times during his 15 seasons in the league. He has played in 103 NBA playoff games and won a title with the Dallas Mavericks, who he played with the past five seasons.
Even though Marion is getting into the late stages of his career

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion Signing Grade

Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawn Marion Signing Grade
By Josh Morgan: VP and Director of Content/Hoopstuff…
Contract: Reportedly 1 year, 1.4 million
The Cavaliers have had the best offseason since the 2010 Heat. That essentially happened the day LeBron decided he’d be returning to Cleveland but since then they have built very well around him, adding Mike Miller and James Jones to bolster their three point shooting which ranked 18th in the league based on percentage, and agreeing to the terms of a trade to acquire Kevin Love from Minnesota once first overall pick Andrew Wiggins is eligible to be traded, who will help that number as well as the 22nd ranked scoring offense in the league. Just a few days ago veteran swing man Shawn Marion also agreed to move to Cleveland, making the offseason even better and helping in a badly needed area, on the defensive end.
For the past fifteen seasons Marion has been one of the best defenders in the league despite playing the majority of his career on on…

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Kirk Signing Grade

Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Kirk Signing Grade
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
Is this a guaranteed contract, non-guaranteed? I couldn’t care less, I love this move. Many of you probably have no clue who he is, I was admittedly just a tad familiar, but he was the starting center at the University of New Meixco and he is a perfect fit on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster. He is big at 7 feet tall and 245 pounds, giving the Cavaliers needed size and he could be the biggest player on the Cavaliers. He also fills their biggest need, a shot blocking big man and he also provides defensive and rebounding depth.
He is a solid and efficient scorer, as he scored 13 points per game on 49 percent shooting as a junior, but far more vital for the Cavaliers, he averaged 2.7 blocks and 8.7 rebounds per game. The only centers on the roster are Anderson Varejao who is 31 and Brendan Hayward who is 34 and has barely produced in 3 straight seasons. The one skill that Hayward still has seems…

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