After trying all season long to get an upgrade at the point guard position, Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak succeeded in accomplishing his mission on Thursday as he traded a protected first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, as well as veteran forwards Luke Walton and Jason Kapono to the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Ramon Sessions. Acquiring Sessions would cost the club one of the leaders in the clubhouse though, as in a separate deal Kupchak sent former team co-captain and starting point guard Derek Fisher to the Houston Rockets for center Jordan Hill.
This has been a mixed up, shook up year the Lakers in general and the team’s other co-captain All-Star guard Kobe Bryant in particular. This season of change, actually started not long after the club got swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the Playoffs last spring, as head coach Phil Jackson retired, replaced by former Cleveland Cavaliers bench boss Mike Brown.
More change would come to the franchise as a result of the aborted deal that would have sent former New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. The team’s former sixth man, Lamar Odom felt so betrayed that he would have gone to the Houston Rockets if the deal went through, demanded to be traded and went to the Dallas Mavericks.
The “Los Angeles Times” reported that Bryant spoke with reporters about the latest team moves after the Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night 97-92. The former NBA MVP told the media members that losing a close friend on the squad was far from a new experience for him. Bryant said “I’ve been here for a while and I’ve seen some of my closest friends go starting with Caron [Butler], Ronny Turiaf, Lamar Odom and Derek. I’ve been through it so many times before.”
Kobe said that Fisher had something in his physical makeup that made him a winner; he believes that the team’s new point guard also has the same quality. He said “The experience of winning five championships doesn’t happen by accident. There’s a reason why players who have won multiple championships have multiple championships. There’s a certain characteristic and understanding and knowledge. That’s not something easily taught. You have to go through it and that’s something that’s part of the DNA from the beginning. That’s something that’s obviously tough to replace, but we believe Sessions has that DNA.”
The “Black Mamba” expressed his pleasure with how Session performed in his first game with the team. He told reporters “It makes my job a lot easier.I get a lot of easier opportunities. I sit on the perimeter. I got a lot of spot-up shots tonight both from his break-down penetration and from teams collapsing on Andrew (starting center Andrew Bynum.)”
A few seasons back, Bryant most likely would not have handled the situation as diplomatically as he did Friday night. However in his maturation as a player and as a person, he seems to have realized that we don’t always like the things that are good for us.