Prior to Tuesday night’s contest between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, ESPN’s Marc Stein set the e-world ablaze, adding Ramon Sessions into a line item of column pertaining to the NBA’s trade deadline. Sessions, per Stein, would be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, LA would send a draft pick to Houston and the Cavaliers would receive point guard Jonny Flynn.
Alas, the Lakers would be willing to part with a draft pick, but it wouldn’t be coming to the Cavaliers. Flynn has long been on the radar of the Cavaliers front office as the team attempted to acquire him in the summer of 2010. Helping matters is the fact the player and his contingent of representatives would love to get him out of Houston where he is buried behind Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. The beneficiary of a team option, one which Houston has already decided to not pick up, finding a team that would be willing to pay the $4 million option would be in the best interest of Flynn, averaging 3.1 points and 2.1 assists per game this season.
Add this reported deal to the list of those that have made Cavalier fans a bit uneasy.
Sessions, however, has been unfazed by all of these discussions; trade talks, of course, have followed him at each of his NBA destinations. The rumor mill is starting to pick up steam yet Sess’ is shrugging off all speculation like would-be defenders. In 27 minutes of work in the loss to Toronto, the Wine and Gold reserve tallied 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, adding six assists. Just one game earlier, Sessions came off of the bench to amass a team-high seven assists. For the season, when Sessions comes off of the bench, he averages 4.5 assists — the third-best total in the league.
The fact that he’s highly coveted is understandable. The fact that the Cavaliers essentially have no choice but to move him is even more so. The variables surrounding Sessions are well-documented: A high-energy, pure point guard with the ability to get to the rim; a player option that will not be picked up, rendering the player free come this off-season. And then there’s this:
Above all else, the Cavaliers need to remember they are a rebuilding team. Whether they somehow sneak into the playoffs or not, that fact won’t change. The Cavaliers need to continue to stockpile draft picks and assets while being mindful of how players fit into their future.
The Lakers’ interest in the point guard has been discussed for weeks. The Atlanta Hawks have expressed desire in upgrading their backcourt, pinging Sessions as means to doing so. But will any of them move the first-round draft pick the Cavaliers are coveting? Per Stein’s report, it appears so — eliminating the third team, however, would be the first step in righting that ship. The Lakers also have a Traded Player Exception that could be packaged with a draft pick, allowing them to absorb Sessions’ $4.3 million without having to move a player.
But the player who would undoubtedly return at least one first-round selection? Presently injured center Anderson Varejao. Teams were skeptical of how Varejao would return from his foot injury one year ago, and he has done nothing but improve. Playing at an extremely high level entering February, even earning an All-Star vote from Milwaukee’s Scott Skiles, Varejao was in the midst of his best season as a professional with per-game averages of 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds.
Witnessing his contagious energy and top-flight ability to defend the pick-and-roll, opposing general mangers had long inquired about Varejao’s availability and, up until this week, have largely been told that the big man is untouchable. However, if the right deal were to be offered, one including at least one lottery pick — just as the stance was last season, Chris Grant may have no choice but to regretfully ship off the 29-year-old Brazilian fan favorite.
Varejao continues to rehabilitate his injured wrist, but if Tuesday night showed us anything, teams are willing to trade for high-upside big men as Milwaukee moved Andrew Bogut to Golden State in a deal for off-guard Monta Ellis.
The Cavaliers have one more game to play before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline arrives. Coincidentally, it’s being played in the same arena where Ramon Sessions got his start in the NBA. Unfortunately, for Sessions fans, Tuesday night’s contest against the Raptors may have been the last time you will have seen him don the Wine and Gold inside of Quicken Loans Arena.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)