While most of the National Basketball Association world waits with bated breath on the drama that is Kyrie Irving and his publicized beef with the Cleveland Cavaliers, life still must go on until there’s a resolution.
Irving’s request to be traded, and his ignoring of calls from Cleveland management and teammates is rather alarming for Cavalier supporters. But that also doesn’t guarantee the Cavs will honor his demand, as he’s still under contract for another two seasons – with a player’s option in the third year.
The New York Knicks are among the handful of teams on Irving’s wish list, but for the time being, they still needed a veteran point guard to help mentor and guide their prized rookie Frank Ntilikina. The Knicks’ point guard depth chart is thin, they can’t afford to wait on the Cavs to resolve their Irving problem, and the Phoenix Suns still remain a long shot trade partner for the Knicks who have inquired about Eric Bledsoe. So adding a cagey vet like Ramon Sessions was their next-best choice. The 31-year old Sessions was inked to a one-year, $2.33 million contract.
New York only had $1.5 million in cap space before signing Sessions, but they were allowed to creep over that cap threshold by offering the veteran a minimum contract.
The 10-year NBA veteran averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 assists with the Charlotte Hornets, last season, and went four-straight seasons averaging double figures in scoring between the 2010-11 and the 2013-14 campaign. His best offensive season was 2012-13 when he averaged 14.4 points during his first stint in Charlotte.
Sessions, who has career averages of 10.6 points and 4.1 assists per game, will join the 19-year old Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick in last month’s draft, and Ron Baker, a gritty undrafted rookie free agent, last season, who was recently rewarded for his perseverance with a new two-year, $8.9 million deal (the second year a player’s option), earlier this month.
The Knicks were in need to get a stop-gap point guard for this season, as Ntilikina, who played professionally in France, is still too raw to steer the most important position in the NBA. And Baker, for as popular and respected as he is, and one who plays dogged defense, is better served as a key reserve.
Neither youngster strikes fear into opponents, and in fact, neither does Sessions. But for a Knicks team that was up against the salary cap and lacking many trade assets to boost the position, this is the best they could’ve done.
Derrick Rose signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal with the Cavs, and really had no desire to rejoin the Knicks following his one season in purgatory, last season, in New York.
That left the Knicks with very few options. Sessions played just 50 games last season in Charlotte and missed significant time because of surgery to repair a torn left lateral meniscus. A once shifty and quick point guard coming off knee surgery doesn’t exactly provide long-suffering Knicks fans with much confidence. And the fact he’s just the second outside free agent to sign with the Knicks this summer – joining Tim Hardaway Jr. and his infamous six-year, $71-million deal – certainly doesn’t provide fans with much reason to rejoice.
The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season, and have not won more than 37 games in a season during that span. So, then again, confidence isn’t something this tortured fan base can really say they’ve had much of in this franchise for the better part of the last 20 years.