A year ago nobody was talking about James Posey in Boston. It was assumed that he'd get more money in Miami or elsewhere. He took less for a chance to play in Boston for a year or two and a chance to cash in later. Now it is later and it is time for James to cash in and all we can talk about is James Posey.
It is worth noting that we are just a few weeks removed from a Championship. The Duck Boats probably still have confetti stuck between the seats from the parade. The starting 5 are all under contract for the next couple years and all signs point to bringing our coaching staff back. So why is Celtic Nation wringing our collective hands over a bench player?
Probably because of one word: Ubuntu. Does any one player embody that selfless, team first mentality better than James Posey? Anyone that makes a living as a defensive stopper is by definition an ubuntu player. He could have taken bigger money elsewhere last year but he didn't. He could have started for a number of teams but didn't. He provided Championship experience on a team that started out with zero rings last Fall. He gave those great man-hug pep talks before the games even began. He dove on the floor for lose balls and got under opponents' skins. And when we needed him to step up and hit a big shot or two, he always seemed to come through.
Henry Abbott put it this way: "Playing tough D and hitting open threes -- there's a guy like that on every title-winning team I can remember."
Basically most everyone agrees that it is great to have a guy like James Posey around. But at what cost?
One camp believes that you bring Posey back at all costs, keep the team as in-tact as possible for a shot at a repeat title and live with the consequences down the line. I see the reasoning in that. If the team won it this year, why wouldn't they have a great chance to win again next year with the same lineup?
Another camp believes that a "win-at-all-costs" mentality typically costs too much and doesn't actually guarantee winning. Examples like the Patriots and Red Sox are given as teams that drew a line in the sand and didn't sign players for more than they were worth. The thinking is that we can replace most of what Posey provided for much cheaper and/or fill in the gaps with other current players stepping up.
Fans are perfectly willing to spend Wyc's money, that isn't the issue. It is just a matter of how much cap space we're willing to tie up for him. 4 to 5 years from now, nobody expects Posey to be worth $7 - $8 Million on the salary cap. Is the short term benefit worth the long term cost?
Reports are that the Celtics have offered 3 years at the Non-Bird level (about $12M). Personally I'd be comfortable upping the offer to the full MLE for 3 years (starting at $5.8M) and seeing if he can get an offer for more than that on the market. If and when he does, it becomes a matter of deciding to match it or not (he's not a restricted free agent, but I would think he'd like to stay in Boston if the offers are even).
But I'll be the first to admit that I'm no salary cap expert. I'm not sure if the team is eying the 2010 free agent class. I am sure they are hoping to keep flexibility for when Pierce, Allen, and Garnett start rolling off the books.
Deciding just how much to offer Posey and for how many years will have a big impact on the team for several years to come. Tomorrow is an important day to this team's future, not to mention James Posey's future. I don't think it will get resolved tomorrow morning, but at least the process will officially begin and we'll be able to see how the chips will fall.