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Cleveland Cavaliers Should Regret Trading Ramon Sessions

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Cleveland Cavaliers Should Regret Trading Ramon Sessions
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Ramon Sessions will be able to opt out of his contract at season's end.  If the Cleveland Cavaliers had not traded him at the deadline, he probably would have left this summer.

But with that said, here are some facts.

Fact: The Cavs could have easily retained Sessions. They would have had plenty of cap room, more than most teams.  (Note: Luckily, their deal with the Lakers gives them even more cap room for the future.)

Fact: This league is looking more and more like it is point guard driven.

Fact: With Sessions, the Cleveland Cavaliers had (arguably) two of the top 14 point guards in the league.  

Fact: The only other team that can say that is the Oklahoma City Thunder (and the Clippers if Chauncey Billups hadn’t gotten hurt.)  And yes, I’m aware that James Harden isn’t considered a point guard, but I don’t consider Russell Westbrook a point guard, either, so we’re even.

Fact: Kyrie Irving just turned 20 years old.  In a couple weeks, Ramon Sessions will be 26.

Fact: Donald Sloan and Manny Harris are what the NBA D-League has stereotyped them as: terrible NBA basketball players.

So, did the Cavs really make the right move in trading Ramon Sessions?

Prior to trading Sessions, the Cavs were right in the playoff hunt.  Since then, they are 1-8 and being outscored by an average of 14.7 points.  They currently have the fifth-worst record in basketball and officially find themselves in the hunt of the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.  

For a lot of Cavs fans, that last sentence is music to the ears and everything you’ve dreamed for.  Not so fast, though...

The Cavaliers had a poor man's James Harden in Ramon Sessions this year.  Because of his basket-driving abilities, Sessions brought a spark to the team when he came off the bench.  He actually fooled us into thinking the Cavs had a decent bench unit.  But really, it was just Sessions that made everyone better. 

Because of Kyrie Irving’s ability to shoot the ball, the Cavs were able to play stretches of the game with Sessions at the point and Irving at the 2.  In other words, the two point guards complemented each other's games very well.

What I’m trying to say is that we undervalued Sessions a lot. 

Ramon Sessions was always an undervalued player, though.  Think about where he played before he came to Cleveland...in Minnesota.  Not the Kevin Love/Ricky Rubio Timberwolves who have re-invented themselves under new head coach Rick Adelman, I’m talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves that were the NBA’s equivalent to the Detroit Lions or Cleveland Browns.  

Now, think about his situation when he came to Cleveland.  It was just after LeBron had left, just after all the national TV love had disappeared and right when the Cavs were at their worst as a franchise.

Cavs fans hated everything about that team, and Ramon Sessions was a member of that team.  When the team landed Kyrie Irving, the perception of Ramon Sessions was that he was a good player, but a player who, unfortunately for him, played the same position as the team's only true star.

That’s kind of how it works in the NBA, though.  You’re only as good as your draft stock and the team (or players) around you.  Most of all, you’re only as good as the situation you find yourself in.  Sessions was never blessed with any of that.

This season, Sessions handled his role (playing behind Irving) like a pro’s pro.  Cavs fans were so delighted with Irving and infatuated with the thought of adding another high lottery pick that they overlooked Sessions' current and future value to this team.   

The fact of the matter is that the Cavs had three players that were good (and consistent) enough to play a part in any NBA team's seven-man rotation.  Those three players were Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao and Ramon Sessions.  Now that list is down to two.

On paper, the Sessions deal looks good because the Cavs got an extra first-round pick in a loaded draft.  But regardless of how talented this draft is, it’s going to be hard to replace what Sessions brought to this team with a pick that is projected to be in the upper 20s. 

Whoever the Cavs take with their lottery pick is likely going to be a better player than Sessions.  But that doesn’t mean he’ll be more important to the Cavs than Sessions was.  We all know this is a star-driven league.  But it’s also a league where a player such as Ramon Sessions can be the thing that puts a team over the top.  That’s how the Mavericks beat the Heat last season; they had that type of player in J.J. Barea.  The Cavs just traded that player away.  

Next season, the Cavs won’t be as good as all of us are projecting.  Since Sessions’ departure, Kyrie Irving has actually taken a step back.  Simply put, Kyrie looks like a typical, talented rookie playing on a lottery team, which, by the way, is exactly what the Cavs are now...just another lottery team.

You know what happens to a team that is “just another lottery team?”  I’ll give you a hint—look at the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings.

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