New Celtic James Posey is pictured above with former Celtics captain Antoine Walker, celebrating an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. (Courtesy of bbc.co.uk)
Kicking off this week’s Celtics player previews is brand-new free agent acquisition James Posey. Posey was signed on Saturday to a two-year deal worth $7 million, soon after word got out that Reggie Miller was ending his plans for a comeback. The C’s will look for Posey to enter the game as the defensive stopper off the bench, giving a lot of rest to both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
In signing with the C’s, Posey took a significant pay cut from last year’s salary ($6.39 million), and will make $3.5 million this season. He was also being pursued by the division-rival New Jersey Nets, but the Nets could only offer the remainder of their mid-level exception ($1.8 million).
Posey’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, spoke with the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy on Saturday after a deal was announced:
The sixth-man role in Boston has always had a special meaning, and that is a role that James is perfectly suited to – that he thrives in. He got the taste of winning a championship in Miami, and you don’t lose that taste. Financially there were some better situations he passed up, but he’s very excited to be with the Celtics.
The 6’8″, 217-pound swingman played the last two seasons with the Miami Heat, winning an NBA title with a cast of other stars in 2005-2006. In that championship season, Posey shared sixth-man duties with former Celtic Antoine Walker, and averaged 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and .8 steals in 67 games (63 starts). He had his best season in 2003-2004 with the Memphis Grizzles, starting all 82 games with averages of 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
Posey’s signing significantly upgrades the bench depth at both guard and forward. Posey will be used as the sixth man to give Pierce and Allen rests. He will also enter in late-game situations to help defend against the toughest in the league. A team that has notoriously lacked good team defense for years, the Celtics realized that if they wanted to realistically compete for an NBA championship, they needed to improve the team defense. Posey’s signing is significant in terms of team defense, but even more in terms of the team’s serious desire to bring a record 17th NBA title back to Boston.