Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard Ramon Sessions has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract to test free agency, according to the L.A. Times. Sessions was scheduled to make $4.5 mil for the 2012-2013 season:
“Ramon has carefully considered this decision,” said Sessions’ agent, Jared Karnes. “He had to make a career decision and ultimately decided to do what was best in providing stability and longevity for him in the NBA, and this could only be achieved through a multi-year contract.”
Sessions was acquired by the Lakers along with Christian Eyenga from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade deadline deal for Luke Walton, Jason Kapono a first round draft pick and cash. Sessions averaged 12.7 ppg and 6.2 apg in 23 regular season games with the Lakers before struggling in his first playoffs experience, averaging only 9.7 ppg and 3.6 apg.
Sessions is free to sign with any team he chooses, leaving the door open for him to return to the Lakers if both sides can agree on a long term extension. The Lakers in their current state have little cap flexibility unless they make some moves to free up salary. The most likely candidate to be on the move is Pau Gasol, who is owed $19 million for next season has been in trade rumors for the past couple years. Gasol was dealt last off season in a move for Chris Paul that was subsequently vetoed by the NBA offices.
If the Lakers can find a taker for Gasol, the best replacement for Sessions would be to pursue all-star PG Deron Williams, who is also a free agent this summer. Steve Blake is currently the only remaining Lakers point guard under contract for the 2012-2013 season.