The Celts would still like to retain James Posey, and while a league source said yesterday the club was ready to give him a fourth year at the mid-level exception, Ainge gave no such indication. Other sources say the C’s aren’t skimping on the money, but they do not want to take the 31-year-old reserve too far down the time line. Ainge wouldn’t get into specifics, but did say, "We place value on players. We try to maximize a player’s talent and their value as we manage our business. So we have a number of what we think are good deals for the Celtics out there, and that’s what we’re trying to do. "We can’t get caught up in chasing players and getting into a bidding war. There are some players you do have to outbid the rest of the league for, but we’re trying to stay within our plan for what we need to do."
Although a Celtics official has denied it, an NBA source said Posey was initially offered a three-year, $12 million deal by Boston, but the source said the Celtics have improved that offer. The most the Celtics can offer is the midlevel exception, expected to start at $5.58 million next season. At 31, the 6-foot-8-inch, 215-pound Posey seems to be interested in getting close to the midlevel exception and a lengthy deal. Boston currently has about $72 million committed in salary for next season and the salary cap, released last night, is $58.68 million, the luxury tax $71.15 million. Any team over the luxury tax has to pay a $1 tax for every $1 it exceeds the tax.