- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Ramon Sessions wasn't a Los Angeles Laker long enough for his return to Staples Center on Tuesday night as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats to feel like a homecoming. All told, he was here just a few months after the Lakers acquired him at the trade deadline in March, then parted ways with him after trading for Steve Nash at the beginning of July.
Still, Sessions said the experience was so memorable for him "the short time I was here felt like a long time" because of the way fans embraced him and the way he played during the playoffs, when the Lakers were eliminated in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I definitely wish I could've finished what I started," he said. "There were a couple [playoff] games where we had two or three minutes left and five or six points could've turned it and made the difference. But you live and you learn, it was a good experience and something I'll never forget."
Much to the chagrin of the Lakers, Sessions opted out of the final year of his contract after the season and became a free agent despite assurances from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that the team hoped he'd be its point guard of the future. The Lakers had every intention of bringing him back, but when the trade for Steve Nash became an option, everything changed quickly.
"It kind of came out of nowhere, but if you can get a guy like him you've got to go with him," Sessions said of the Nash trade. "I'm happy for those guys. So I just had to move on and I'm happy where I am now."
If anything, the trade for Nash validated the reasons Sessions said he opted out in the first place.
"It was one of those things where I knew [Deron] Williams was talked about, they always had talked about the bigger name guys," he said. "I didn't really want to go into my contract year not knowing if I would be the starter or I'd be the backup or I'd be traded. So I jumped out and made the decision I made.
"Any time you can get longevity in this league, because you never know what can happen day in and day out, I was trying to secure my future. I thought it was going to be here, but it was elsewhere."
Still, Sessions says he harbors no regrets.
"None at all," he said. "I got a lot of experience from playing with Pau [Gasol], [Andrew] Bynum, and Kobe [Bryant]. I learned a lot from those guys and just cherished every moment. I think it helped me grow as a player and showed me the ups and downs of the league. Just being in the playoffs, getting all that experience, and just enjoying it."
While he's averaging a career high 14.4 points a game with the Bobcats this season, he admits it's a very different feel.
"It went from being one of the younger guys to being one of the older vets on this team," he said. "Working with Kemba [Waker], who is playing extremely well, I'm kind of a mentor where guys look at me as a veteran."
Sessions said he hasn't kept in touch with many of his former teammates in Los Angeles, but like the rest of the NBA he has kept tabs on how the Lakers season has gone and was stunned to hear former coach Mike Brown was fired after just five games.
"I was surprised. Mike was a great coach," he said. "I was in shock, especially five games into an 82-game season. They had guys hurt. But you know, that's how the NBA works."
3dAmin Elhassan and Baxter Holmes