Houston Rockets

Breaking Down How Houston Rockets Could Sign-and-Trade for Ramon Sessions

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 23: Ramon Sessions #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks in a game against the Sacramento Kings on March 23, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2014

Point guard Jeremy Lin was nothing but professional when discussing his two seasons with the Houston Rockets after the organization traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in a cap-clearing maneuver.

"The writing was kind of on the wall," Lin told Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy. "For me, I just felt like they were heading in a different direction, which is okay and I totally understand it from a business standpoint."

But in the wake of Lin's departure, a different kind of writing is now on the wall. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is tasked with restocking his team's depth after parting ways with Lin and separately dealing center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Signing swingman Trevor Ariza will go a ways toward replacing Chandler Parsons (who signed as a restricted free agent with the Dallas Mavericks), but Houston's depth remains an area of concern.

Especially at the point guard spot.

With 26-year-old Ish Smith currently the club's best bet to back up starter Patrick Beverley, it should come as no surprise that Morey and Co. are investigating other options.

Such a move may not make many headlines, but it could certainly yield dividends for a Rockets rotation in desperate need of reinforcements.

Sessions finished the season with the Milwaukee Bucks after playing his first 55 games (and the 2012-13 campaign) with the Charlotte Bobcats—now the Hornets. His playing time swelled to an average of 32.5 minutes in 28 games with the Bucks, translating into 15.8 points and 4.8 assists per game.

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 23: Ramon Sessions #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks in a game against the Sacramento Kings on March 23, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Through his seven-year career, Sessions has averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 assists while making 43.9 percent of his field-goal attempts.

The 28-year-old's journey has spanned five different teams and included multiple roles as both a starter and reserve. 

Sessions appear to have the opportunity of a lifetime when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired him via trade in 2012. But after just 23 regular-season games with the franchise and an uninspiring postseason performance, the two sides parted ways that summer when the Nevada product became a free agent.

"It was one of those situations I looked at like, 'If I do come back what if they trade me?'" Sessions told Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears after signing with Charlotte. "There were talks about getting Deron [Williams]. They always wanted the bigger-named guy. What if I get traded to a team and it's my contract year?"

The stability in Charlotte was short-lived, however. 

In February, Sessions was dealt along with Jeff Adrien to Milwaukee in exchange for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.

And his struggle to find a long-term home isn't over yet.

Perhaps the Rockets are an ideal situation.

As NBCSports.com's Dan Feldman notes, "The Rockets could use a better backup point guard. The market has mostly dried up for Sessions. And the Bucks, who no longer have a place for Sessions, would love to get return for him. There’s definitely a chance for a deal to be reached."

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 11:  Jeremy Lin #7 and Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets celebrate as time winds down in the second overtime period during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Toyota Center on November 11, 2013 in Houston, Texas. NOTE T
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The difficulty could be a logistical one.

Feldman also points out that, "Milwaukee can’t mindlessly take back an extra player in a trade," as the organization already has 15 guaranteed contracts (along with non-guaranteed deals belonging to Kendall Marshall and Chris Wright).

Meanwhile, Morey is somewhat limited in terms of what he can offer.

Here's what we know. James Harden, Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza and Terrence Jones aren't going anywhere. At the moment, that's Houston's starting lineup, and it's unlikely to undergo any significant alteration unless there emerges some opportunity to land another big name.

The rest of the Rockets' roster is a hodgepodge of unproven or otherwise unattractive assets. Even if Sessions isn't worth much, Milwaukee still needs some incentive to actually participate in a deal.

One solution may be Donatas Motiejunas, a 7-foot Lithuanian entering his third season. The 23-year-old was acquired in the 2011 draft-night trade that also sent point guard Jonny Flynn to Houston and is scheduled to make just $1,483,920 this season.

Motiejunas averaged 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in just 15.4 minutes per game last season, but his big selling point remains upside. 

Having shown some flashes of outside shooting ability, Motiejunas could develop into a legitimate floor-spacing big man. And in today's NBA, there's a huge premium on those guys.

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets during a game against the Golden State Warriors on February 20, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

For the record, Motiejunas has made just 26.9 percent of his career three-point attempts. He's still a work in progress.

But he's also young, and his potential to develop into a consistent contributor just might grab Milwaukee's attention.

Absent the cap flexibility to sign someone like Sessions outright, Houston may be forced to prematurely pull the plug on its Motiejunas experiment—the closest thing the organization has to an undeveloped long-term project.

Formidable as Houston's starting lineup may be, this is a team that needs a reliable presence in its second unit—and all the more so in the backcourt. Besides Smith, the Rockets' other options to back up Beverley currently include second-round pick Nick Johnson and the still untested Isaiah Canaan, who's entering his second season.

Sessions is precisely the kind of veteran who could stabilize the Rockets rotation and provide insurance behind Beverley, who was limited by injury to just 56 games a season ago.

Harden made a few headlines in July saying, per The Philippine Star's Joaquin Henson that, "Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team."

But without the right role players, this team is anything but complete.

Sessions could quietly become a significant step toward changing that.

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