Bob Finnan of News Herald (Cleveland Paper) reports:
Posey, 31, is expected to get the full mid-level exception - starting with $5.6 million in 2008-09 - for three years. Sources say the Cavs might have to extend it out four years in order to land Posey. And, therein lies the problem. Most teams don't want to give him a four-year contract, including Boston. The Cavs lived to regret giving four-year deals to Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones. For one thing, Posey will be 35 by the end of the contract. Secondly, he's a bench player, a good piece for a team close to a championship, as the Celtics found out this past season. Also, that's a lot of money to pay a player who probably won't be a starter. His best position is small forward. The Cavs have some other guy (LeBron James) who plays more than 40 minutes a game at the "3" spot. Some think Posey could start at shooting guard with the Cavs, but that's not his best position.
It looks like the Celtics and Posey's agent are in a good ol' fashioned game of stare down. Bartelstein is hoping the threat of other teams making offers will force the Celtics to blink first. The Celtics don't want to bid against themselves and are content to gamble that nobody else will give a 4th year. They figure that with equal deals on the table Posey will take the deal to come back to Boston.
It stands to reason that most teams don't want to go to a 4th year. Like the Cavs, many teams have been burned by long term deals in the past. Considering that amazing free agent class of 2010 (James, Wade, Bosh, to name a few), nobody is going to tie up long term money. In fact, if anyone was, it would be Cleveland in an effort to keep good players around James.
The bottom line is that James Posey is a very good player, deserving of the full mid level for 3 years (in this market). Nobody wants to give him that 4th year. Of course it only takes one team to push all in and give him what he wants, but I tend to think that if that was going to happen, it would have happened by now. If you are another team and you have Posey targeted as the top guy left on the market, now would be the time to move. All you have to do is offer that 4th year and he's yours. But that hasn't happened yet.
In fact, on the other side of the fence there's a little bit of pressure on Bartelstein to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Boston has to be Posey's top choice (all offers being equal) and Boston has a line of free agents wanting to come here stretching around the block. If the Celtics decide that the opportunity to move on some of those guys is more important than waiting around for Posey, they could decide to move on at any time.
I think in the end Bartelstein will blink first and accept the Celtics offer of 3 years at the full MLE. Then we can get on with the rest of the offseason.