Aside from the move to acquire Pau Gasol and the failed experiment of getting Gary Payton and Karl Malone to choose a title chase over cash, Mitch Kupchak has largely been applying Band-Aids to the Lakers roster. In 2012 those Band-Aids finally reached that point where they became more of a nuisance than help as the Lake Show has officially reached the crossroads of the Kobe Bryant era.
One of the bigger Band-Aids applied last season was the addition of Ramon Sessions. Yes, Sessions was an upgrade over Derek Fisher but that doesn’t mean much since Sebastian Telfair would have been an improvement. Not taking a shot at Sessions just stating the facts.
For his brief stint as a sixth man and during an impressive stretch of regular season games Sessions was a revelation. We hadn’t seen a guard with the kind of open court speed Sessions showed since Nick Van Exel was making plans to vacation in Cancun.
Then the playoffs rolled around and everything that Sessions isn’t was exposed. Such is the nature of the NBA’s postseason. It has a way of revealing the truth that a rushed regular season can hide.
While the Lakers were better off with Sessions they still weren’t nearly good enough. We know that. The entire hoops world knows it and we don’t need another year of Ramon Sessions to prove that all over again.
Today Sessions decided to opt-out of a deal that would have paid him $4.5-million. He made the right move. Ramon is good enough to play in the NBA. No doubt about that. He’s deserving of more than a one-year audition which is what next year would have been. He’s also been on four teams in five years. There’s a reason for that.
The Lakers aren’t a Ramon Sessions away from contending. They’re not even a Dwight Howard away.
With or without Sessions the questions about the future of this franchise remain the same. The Lakers don’t need to re-up with a guard that they’ll be looking to replace in another year. Kupchak would be better served to let Sessions walk while pursuing other avenues to acquire a more reliable point guard.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Sessions. I fully appreciate the awkward nature of his arrival in L.A. amid moans over D-Fish’s departure and the hectic nature of the schedule that didn’t allow for practice. I enjoyed watching him play. He brought an element to this team that was sorely lacking. Most of all Ramon was a solid pro that went about his business with a humble approach. All of that is commendable. It’s still not enough to get this team over the hump.
As it stands the Lakers are stuck with some bad contracts. Nobody is trading for either Steve Blake or Metta World Peace not when both have two-years left on their deals. Kobe Bryant isn’t going anywhere not with his massive contract and not with his no-trade clause. Andrew Bynum is owed another contract and Gasol is due a one-way ticket out of town.
Considering all that it makes no sense to re-sign Sessions when he’s looking for long-term security. In another situation Sessions might be an important piece to a championship team. In L.A. he’s just another Band-Aid that only helps to keep the team respectable while buying time until a better option comes along. With Kobe closing in on his final days in the NBA time is not an option the Lakers have any longer.
I’ll keep saying it until the reality of the situation cannot be ignored – it is time to rebuild.