Earlier today, we posted the news about Deron Williams free agency wishes and the feeling around Lakers Nation was a little bit more somber than usual. Much noise is being made that the story released by ESPN is just a negotiating ploy by Nets to increase their leverage for sign and trade deals (i.e. Nets trying to get Bynum instead of Pau).
But let’s pretend that the sources are actually right and Deron Williams has really narrowed down his choices to the Nets and Mavericks.
What does this mean for the Lakers?
Last week, Jim Buss sat down and chatted with TJ Simers of the LA Times to talk about the Laker’s off-season plans. It was pretty clear that Jim Buss wasn’t planning on making any major trades, so that the core of Bynum, Gasol and Kobe can give it one more try next year. Again, you can take the interview for face value, which then prompts you to yell at your computer screen OR you could take a second and consider the fact that Jim is just setting the table up, so he can also have better leverage during trade negotiations. The Nets have just set their table up with this Williams announcement.
The thinking here is if your opponent knows that you need something, the amount he can gain increases. For example, if you just walked across the desert and dying of thirst, you’re going to need some water. You come across a man who has a cooler of bottled water and he sees that your tongue looks like sandpaper and you’re about to die from dehydration. Originally, he would be selling the water for a $1 a bottle, but because he knows you need to save your own life plus he sees that you just got a $5B deal from Time Warner, he quotes you a price of $5. He just got you for $4 more dollars than the next person.
Now, let’s say you walked across the same desert, have the same thirst and saw the same man. This time, he doesn’t see you until you want to be seen, so you clean yourself up, muster all your energy to look like you’re not going to die and calmly walk over to him and ask him how much a bottle of water is. The man thinks nothing of the situation and offers you the same price he offers everyone else and you get your bottle of water for a dollar, saving the other four dollars you would have spent if you didn’t do the proper prep work.
Re-read those last two paragraphs if you’re new to negotiations. It might save you a couple of bucks next time you’re at the local farmers market, flea market or car dealership.
If you haven’t heard, Ramon Sessions opted out of his final year of his contract that would have paid him $4.5M. The quick reaction here is to wonder if Sessions’ is worth more than that on the open market. The real reaction should be that Ramon has been saying he was going to opt out all season and that he is just looking to secure a longer term deal – i.e. 4 years/$16M – in case of injury or what not. The question still is – how much is Ramon Sessions worth to the Lakers when they’re already paying Steve Blake $4M a year, with two years left on his deal.
Well, let’s go back to my analogy and say the Lakers are the thirsty, dying man, crossing the desert. Deron Williams is selling his bottled water for $5 and Ramon Sessions is selling water from a well for $1 a scoop.
With Jim Buss’ interview and Mitch Kupchak’s latest statements about not making major moves this summer, the Lakers have cleaned themselves up and are mustering up all their energy not to look desperate for that water.
But now with Deron Williams saying that he’s refusing to serve the Lakers any water (Nets & Mavs Only), even for $5 a bottle, Ramon Sessions hears that and can now increase his scoop of well water to $2. Simple supply and demand dictates that the Lakers are going to be paying a little bit more for Ramon Sessions because the supply of point guards look to be a little low this off-season.
Yes, I’ve seen the list of other waterboys, er, point guards out there on the market – Steve Nash, Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, Goran Dragic, Ray Felton, etc. – so, the negotiating powers that Sessions isn’t as great as may think. But because Kobe Bryant’s window is closing soon, Sessions familiarity with Brown’s offense, Sessions’ basketball IQ and relatively young age, the Lakers most likely favor bringing back Sessions for next season, instead of taking their chances with the aforementioned point guards.
Also, note that the Lakers have Sessions’ Bird rights, which means that the Lakers can go over the salary cap to keep Ramon. All the other free agent point guards can only make $3M with the Lakers, so that really ties the Lakers hands as well.
Should be a fun summer once free agency opens up on July 1st.
What do you think is going to happen?