Sessions Trade the Latest Exercise in Chris Grant’s Regimen

As another trade deadline came and went, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant sat before the media collective and discussed his most recent bout with franchise yoga. After weeks of unrolling the team’s proverbial mat, discussions of potential poses and the deflection of all distractions during the methodical inhales and exhales, the team left its second consecutive trade deadline more financially flexible than when it arrived.

Ramon Sessions’ contract was expiring. The proud owner of a player option for the 2012-13 season, having been traded from mid-market team to mid-market team since landing in the league, Sessions was essentially six weeks away from finally having the fate of his employment in his own hands. Toiling in a reserve role for a rebuilding team, firmly planted behind the face of the franchise and only being afforded extra playing time when said face is confronted with concussions or influenza, is no way to earn a living. At least by choice.

Grant sat on a stool fit for a 6-foot-10-inch individual. The perfect resting place for a man who just finished successfully walking the tightrope that connects short-term gains and long-term strategy. A move largely aided by the closed-eyed home run he hit one year earlier, moving a reserve player who in his relative prime for what amounted to roughly 1.5 draft picks is tough to disparage. Sure, the Cavaliers took on the wholly American salary of small forward Luke Walton, but tactical moves leading into the 2011-12 season provided Grant with salary cap space that allowed for such a trade to take place.

First-round draft picks, regardless of placement, come with a cost. Grant, along with Dan Gilbert, have long been linked to the desire of buying into the first round, but have either run into a roadblock fixed by a counter party or one by a perceived lack of talent worth acquiring. Without having to worry about an 11th hour trade on draft night, the Cavaliers can now go into the June event armed with four selections — “flexibility” — at their collective disposal.

Gilbert and head coach Byron Scott were well involved with the decision to move Sessions, as was the player. Grant prides himself on dealing with his players as human beings as opposed to number-producing assets. Sessions was looking for a chance to earn more playing time; doing so on a championship contender is an additional bonus. Christian Eyenga was a former first-round pick, a player who the team had relatively high expectations for, a player who learned a lot about the game of basketball during his stay in Cleveland. But at some point, the business aspect of the game takes over. Thankfully for the players involved, it appears that none of them were blindsided by said move; the communication lines in Independence were more than open.

But back to that whole “one-and-a-half draft picks” item. Not only do they acquire the Lakers’ first-rounder this coming summer, but the right to swap their worst pick with the Lakers in 2013. If the Miami Heat finish in the top three of the league with the aging Lakers sliding down a few spots in the win column, the Wine and Gold can improve themselves by seven or eight more draft spots. Draft picks, regardless of slot, provide crane-like flexibility. What may not be perceived to have value today can increase in value at the drop of a hat. Not that anyone expects the Lakers to be in the lottery next season, but why dwell on the unknown?

Soon, Luke Walton and Jason Kapono (!) will be wearing Cavalier Wine and Gold. Their roles are undetermined, but also relative non events despite opinions to the contrary. Just like Baron Davis one season ago, they’re the cost of acquiring an additional draft selection — any production received is a bonus.  Sure, the Cavaliers take a hit from a short-term production standpoint. Sessions was providing a consistent 11 points and five assists per night, providing essential downtime to a rookie point guard who loves to run the floor. But with Chris Grant’s sites set on sustainable contention at a date to be determined, moving a living asset for a paper one was necessary.

What Grant chooses to do with his bevy of draft picks come late June remains to be seen. It is widely expected that at least one of the selections will be moved, potentially packaged for something of additional value. Gilbert’s willingness to take on additional salary will undoubtedly help if this endeavor is indeed chosen.

On paper, the daily variety that relives the last 24 hours, the box scores may not be as prolific as they were before Ramon Sessions was moved to Los Angeles. But back in the team’s War Room in Independence, Grant can casually sit back, wipe the sweat from his forehead  and take in a post-workout Gatorade. Flexibility provides an element of freedom. Another trade deadline well done, his franchise inherently in a better place than it was 24 hours earlier.

Photo: Amy Sancetta, AP

  • Boomhauertjs

    Hopefully, the Cavs can bring in a solid veteran backup point guard in the offseason to give them 10-12 solid minutes a night.

  • DMohio

    Scott, is there a maximum amount of picks that an NBA team can have? I’m hoping that Gilbert and Grant will look to purchase another first rounder.

  • Harv 21

    I’m starting to like this new combo of a cerebral, patient young GM with a very rich, passionate (hot head) owner.

    Also, in this pic Grant looks like my kids when they were first experimenting how to smile for the camera and overdoing it.

  • Sixty? I’d assume they’d attempt to package some of these to move up than acquire another first. The whole guaranteed contract thing.

  • gren

    I was just wondering. Are we allowed to amnesty Walton after the season is over (if it calls for it that is) ?  Or do we have to wait another year for Baron’s old deal to be off the books (or does it after the season is over)?

  • Seemingly ideal pairing. They provide a lot of balance to one another.

  • bglass02

    I am with you on this GM/Owner combo. I always thought Ferry did a good job of pulling off deals, but Grant is closely catching up. 

  • mgbode

    no.  amnesty was a 1-time per team deal.   and, only for players that were on the roster when the CBA was signed. 

  • typo

    It really is refreshing to have an owner who cares and a front office that seems to know what their doing. As opposed to the other 2 teams. I have no problem rooting for a bad team as long as ownership seems to care as much as I do in turning it around.

  • DMohio

    My idea is to help a package. If we have to give another guaranteed roster spot, it’s not like we don’t have places for them.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Chris Grant = great hire by Gilbert.  He’s made some really smart moves so far, and contrary to what John Hollinger thinks, I really liked this move as well.  I would have been happy just getting a first round draft pick for Sessions, but the ability to swap our Miami pick for the Lakers’ pick in 2013 was a good idea.  And to pay for it, we only have to keep Luke Walton on the bench for one year.  Since Grant is rebuilding the Cavs through the draft, that extra $6 million in cap space for one year wouldn’t have been all that useful anyway.

  • Steve

     Let’s not gush over this trade too much. We knew Sessions was being moved, and that we were likely getting a first round pick.

    And I don’t know why Gilbert gets credit for caring more than the other owners? Because he latched onto the Lebron cash cow and was able to pour money into the team?

  • Jaker

    absolutely. Its not like we need that 6 mil for *this* offseason. Walton, Kapono and Jamison will all be long gone before we use their money elsewhere (ala, resigning Kyrie to a monster contract).

  • 216in614

    Kobe is not getting any younger and they won’t get Dwight next year either. Can you imagine if the Lakers end up being a lottery team in 2013?

  • Yup

    Well, if he only did that, he would still be the best owner in town! But as u seem to not get, he is still spending lots of money (Baron Davis, anyone?) and looking to improve the team all the time instead of bitching about attendance or shite like that…

  • mgbode

    we knew that we wanted to move Sessions and that we wanted a 1st round pick .  we also knew that the Lakers were likely the only team that we could actually accomplish it.  

    but, we didn’t know if Grant could pull it off.  he did.

  • mgbode

    they protected the 1st round pick they gave us.  i would guess there is some protection mechanism on the swap too.

  • steve-o

    I’d be happy for a t20 pick. Then again no one could have imagined turning Mo Williams into the first overall pick. And if we’re going to get crazy, how about Miami tanking and getting a lottery pick that way?

  • Conrad Kaczmarek

    There is no protection on the swap.

  • I think the word you aimed for and missed in the headline is actually “regimen” and not “regiment”. I also like the trade – Cavs need to get younger and more athletic and if the dead weight of Luke Walton’s contract is the price of an extra pick, it’s not too high a price to pay in cap flexibility.

  • There cannot be two addendums to picks. Either its protected or swappable. Not both. 

  • I’mVerbalKint

    From what I found about the swap …
    2013 first round draft pick from L.A. LakersCleveland has the right to swap the less favorable of their own 2013 1st round pick and Miami’s own 2013 1st round pick (top-10 protected) with the L.A. Lakers own 2013 first round pick (top-14 protected). If the L.A. Lakers own 2013 first round pick is #1-#14, then the L.A. Lakers’ obligation to Cleveland shall be extinguished. [Cleveland-L.A. Lakers, 3/15/2012]

  • Marty Susman

    Can we trade World & Blake & McRoberts & Murphy for Scott & have Scott the new coach of the Lakers ???