Lakers reach out to Ramon Sessions
LOS ANGELES -- When NBA free agency officially started Saturday night, securing a point guard was No. 1 on the Los Angeles Lakers' agenda.
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Shortly after the 9 p.m. PT start to the free-agent frenzy, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called a representative of Ramon Sessions to formally express the team's interest in opening contract negotiations, according to Sessions' agent, Jared Karnes.
"Our discussion was cordial and I'm looking forward to talking to Mitch again in the near future," Karnes told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I'm satisfied with tonight and looking forward to continue this process in the next few days."
Karnes said he and Kupchak spoke briefly and that no salary figures or contract lengths were exchanged. Karnes said "several" other teams called to inquire about Sessions, but that Sessions has no meetings scheduled with any other team at the moment.
Sessions averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds on 47.9 percent shooting from the field and 48.6 percent shooting on 3-pointers in 23 regular-season games after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline in March. He struggled in the playoffs, however, averaging just 6.8 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 35.3 percent in the Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder before opting out of the final year of his deal that would have paid him $4.55 million for the 2012-13 season.
While the Lakers have genuine interest in retaining the 26-year-old Sessions, they're protecting themselves by pursuing a list of established, veteran free-agent point guards as well, a source familiar with the team's plan for free agency said.
Young, a Los Angeles native and USC product, could give the Lakers' bench scoring (20.5 points per game in 2011-12) a boost. Other teams to express interest in Young, according to the agent: New Orleans, Brooklyn, Indiana, Boston.
Billups, 35, suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in February. He averaged 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in his first season with the Clippers. The Lakers will have some competition when it comes to Billups, as Chris Paul told The Denver Post that his "top priority" for the offseason was to convince Billups to return to the Clippers.
Nelson opted out of the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic on Friday, turning down a guaranteed $7.9 million to test the free-agency market. The 30-year-old point guard averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 assists last year, his eighth season in the league.
Hinrich, 31, averaged just 6.6 points and 2.8 assists for Atlanta last season, but is a career 37.8 percent shooter from 3-point range, an area where the Lakers sorely need to improve.
Jonny Flynn also has interest in the Lakers, according to a source close to the 23-year-old former lottery pick by Minnesota.
The only point guard currently on the Lakers roster is Steve Blake. The team also extended a qualifying offer to Darius Morris worth approximately $940,000 on Friday, making him a restricted free agent. Morris played sparingly at point guard as a rookie this past season.