June 30, 2016

Partly cloudy

New guys won’t take it show

INDEPENDENCE —Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins plan to take the opportunity the Cavaliers have given them and run with it.

And run and run and run with it.

“We’re a high-energy team that likes to get up and down the floor and run,” Hollins said Thursday morning during an introductory press conference at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “It’s a great fit.”

Sessions, a 6-foot-3 guard, and Hollins, a 7-foot center, were acquired from Minnesota on Monday for Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. The Cavaliers also got the Timberwolves’ second-round draft pick in 2013.

Both new additions are athletic and should benefit from the up-tempo offense Cleveland coach Byron Scott plans to utilize.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Sessions said. “However it works out, it works out.”

Sessions, who averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists for Milwaukee in 2008-09 before signing a four-year, $16 million deal with Minnesota, slumped to 8.2 points and 3.1 assists with the Timberwolves last season, but he’s demonstrated the ability to put up big numbers when given minutes.

Exactly how Sessions will be used is up to Scott, who didn’t attend the press conference, but he will definitely be used a lot.

Sessions could be the backup point guard behind Mo Williams, a former teammate in Milwaukee, or he could man the starting shooting guard spot in what would be an extremely small but explosive backcourt.

Under former coach Mike Brown, the Cavaliers had a lot of success with a small backcourt in 2008-09, win-ning 66 games with the 6-3 West and 6-1 Williams in the starting lineup for most of the season.

There’s also the possibility Williams could be traded if the Cavaliers can find a taker, but nothing seems imminent.

“Mo was the second person I called after my agent,” Sessions said of his reaction to the trade. “He was all for it. It’s going to be fun out there.

“Me and Mo are best friends, but we’re going to compete. Even though he was my mentor growing up, I’m not going to let him off easy. I’m going to compete and play hard.”

When the two were on the floor together in Milwaukee, the 24-year-old Sessions said he played the point on offense and defended the opposing shooting guard. That was in 2007-08, when Sessions averaged 8.1 points and a career-high 7.5 assists as a rookie.

With Williams in Cleveland the following season, the Nevada product averaged 15.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 39 starts for the Bucks.

On the negative side, Sessions is a woeful 10-of-56 on 3-pointers over three NBA seasons (.179), but he rarely shoots from beyond the arc.

There are also positives and negatives with Hollins, who weighs just 240 pounds and has trouble stopping stronger players in the low post.

However, the long-limbed 25-year-old UCLA product, who averaged a career-high 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds last season, hopes to develop into a player similar to Tyson Chandler, who prospered under Scott in New Orleans.

“Every team I’ve been on, we’ve made the attempt to run,” Hollins said. “The way I play definitely fits what we’re trying to do.”


General manager Chris Grant said the Cavaliers will try to stay “flexible” as they continue life without LeBron James. He said the team turned down a trade opportunity that didn’t make sense over the long haul, which presumably was a reference to center Al Jefferson. Jefferson, who will make $42 million over the next three seasons, was eventually dealt from Minnesota to Utah for two first-round draft picks and center Kosta Koufos.

Grant called the death of former Cleveland big man Lorenzen Wright “terrible news.” Having also worked with Wright in Atlanta, Grant said the 34-year-old “was a very vibrant young man” and added the Cavaliers’ “thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.”

 For the record, Sessions pronounces his first name “ruh-MAHN.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.