This offseason just got a lot more complicated for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a move that wasn’t completely unexpected, Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions has decided to decline his player option for the 2012-2013 season. In other words, Sessions will be a free agent this offseason.
The player option was worth $4.5 million, but it appears Sessions wants to test his value on the open market in hopes of landing a more lucrative deal. He had hinted throughout the exit interview process that he might decline the option, and eventually decided to do just that.
A mid-season acquisition via trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it appeared that Sessions was finally going to be the answer that the Lakers needed at point guard. He looked good throughout the remainder of the regular season, becoming the sparkplug on offense that Derek Fisher could no longer be. His defense was average at best, but the impact was immediate.
And then the playoffs rolled around, and everything was downhill from there. Sessions looked out of sorts and seemed taken aback by his first postseason appearance. By the time the Lakers’ playoff run had come to an end, Sessions’ confidence was drained.
With this move, the Lakers are left with veteran Steve Blake and 2011 second round pick Darius Morris as their only point guards. Blake struggled mightily throughout this past season and Morris is still a work in progress. Sessions’ decision will undoubtedly make trading up in this month’s NBA Draft a likely route for the Lakers.
Despite this latest setback, there’s still a possibility that Sessions could return with the Lakers. Considering his lackluster playoff performance, Sessions’ value during free agency could leave the young point guard with substantially-lower offers than he was hoping for. If that ends up being the case, he might end up re-signing with the Lakers like Shannon Brown did in 2010 after opting out of his player option.
It’s not quite time to hit the panic button, but let’s hope that Jim Buss has a plan at the ready as the point guard position suddenly becomes a glaring concern yet again.