James Posey’s departure falls somewhere between a “no biggie” and “the end of the world.” Big Game James made a big difference all year long, especially on the defensive end. He had championship experience, and was a prototypical “glue guy.”
On the other hand, Posey was asking for a four-year contract and the full MLE. Keep in mind the difference.
The Fourth Year
Locking up Posey for four years would have been handing him a contract longer than any current Celtic except Garnett. Was he worth that kind of commitment? It’s easy to say “yes” when it’s someone else’s money. Sure, we could have traded him or bought him out down the line. But Danny has already put the Celtics owners well over the salary cap, and so it was important for Danny to make some kind of good faith effort to rein in costs. The owners and Danny made what they thought was the best offer they could, and Posey opted for more money and greater financial security.
The Full MLE
Giving Posey the full MLE would have forced the Celtics to pursue only those free agents willing to play for workman’s wages (the vet minimum). While Boston remains a free agent magnet, most players will only take so much of a pay cut before looking elsewhere. Corey Maggette proved that point. Now the Celtics should have a little more room to maneuver in pursuing free agents.
I’m glad James Posey was a Celtic. He played a critical role in bringing home Banner 17, and I’ll always be thankful for his contributions. Although Posey’s contributions may have been impossible to value, his value was not limitless. Red won 11 titles in 13 years with the same core group of players, but a changing group of role players.
In theory, Danny ought to be able to build a series of contenders using the same approach over the next three years.
The question is whether the Celtics just lost a core piece to the puzzle or something more easily replaced.