Looking Through Mitch’s Crystal Ball
After seeing how seamlessly Ramon Sessions has been incorporated into our team, there is now one teeny tiny problem: RS7 has an ETO (early termination option) to be a free agent at the end of the year. In order that we may assess the possibilities, its best to know what is, are and would be in terms of the Lakers payroll.
There is a silver lining in assessing the team we have now. Its a conflict by itself because usually, contending teams are breaking the bank to acquire players. Our team, is on a tight budget and for good reason. Running a team on the basketball end doesn’t mean you have to sign or acquire every player that presents itself, it means you have to be wise about player acquisitions, managing your roster and trying to make everything fit.
I have raved much about how wise the Sessions acquisition was for us. Mitch Kupchak pulled out another Ariza deal – a deal comparable to a rabbit out of a hat. Here’s how he did it and why:
Lakers sent: Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and LAL 12 1st (cash considerations not mentioned, most likely none)
Lakers received: Ramon Sessions, Christian Eyenga.
In terms of payroll, the Lakers effectively cut salary now and in the future, WHILE getting 1 starter and one possible contributor. Lakers sent out almost 7M in salaries while taking back only 5.4M. In terms of luxury tax hit, that deal by itself saves us some $3.6M. In terms of 2013 salary, pending Sessions’ decision to stay or explore free agency, the Lakers have sent out a total of 9+ million in salaries while taking back Sessions’ player option and Eyenga’s forgettable 1M. That alone, linearly speaking, we can afford to sign RS7 to a contract amount of 8M and be back where we started.
So without worrying about what happens in 2013 and what RS7’s decision would be, the Lakers saved money THIS YEAR and NEXT, without giving up big time assets WHILE giving ourselves a big time chance to go for it. Ramon Sessions, as evidenced by his performance yet, has impressed us in more ways we can expect out of a non-CP3 PG.
Moving a bit further and caressing the proverbial crystal ball, here we start to make assumptions that are considered to be the most-sensible things to do.
1. Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace is not walking away from 2yrs and $15 million to not be a Laker. Meaning, safe to say, he will be a Laker next season unless management thinks otherwise. We can either trade him or amnesty him. But if you ask me, none of those 2 are happening.
2. Andrew Bynum’s team option worth $16.5 million will be picked up, fingers-crossed, if all things go well.
3. There have been reports that the team option for Jordan Hill worth $3.6 million have already been declined by Houston prior to the trade. If such is true, and even if its not, all points lead to him not being with the team for that much. So we can scratch that out of the way.
4. Team options for Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock will be picked up. At 700k apiece, its safe to say they are exactly what Gary Vitti ordered – cheap contributors with lots of potential.
5. Devin Ebanks will be allowed to explore free agency, would get looks from other teams, but we have the Gilbert Arenas rights on him to match whatever contract he receives from another team.
6. Matt Barnes and Troy Murphy are well-travelled vets who will have their fates decided after assessing the other options.
After the 6 assumptions, the Lakers have a payroll of $80.5 million pending Sessions’ decision.
Route A: Sessions opts in, gets an extension.
Route B: Sessions opts out, we sign him $8M starting.
Either way, the Lakers are not in danger of losing Sesh.