By Jason Wojciechowski on July 16, 2008 at 10:22 PM
James Posey is a New Orleans Hornet. This is pretty much as good as it gets for the Lakers. It had started to become clear that whoever stepped up with a four-year deal was going to get Posey. This meant that if the Lakers signed him, they'd lose because four years is simply too much for a 32-year-old role player who does exactly two things: play defense and hit threes. Now, granted, those two things are valuable, and Posey was a big part of his two championship teams, but is going to be hitting threes at a 38% clip when he's 34? Will he lose a step on defense and stop being able to stay in front of guys without fouling? Those are the risks you take when you sign old players. Even Gary Payton lost a step on defense as he got older, and James Posey is no Gary Payton.
Anyway, I'm glad the Hornets ended up with him even though this makes New Orleans a tougher West team for the next year or two. Why? Because I still don't see who scores for New Orleans off the bench, and this signing keeps Posey from going back to Boston.
The Celtic bench is now Big Baby Davis (7" vertical), JR Giddens (a rookie guard who was a volume shooter in college, a poor free-throw guy, and couldn't hit the college three ball), Leon Powe (motor, but what else?), Bill Walker (knee troubles), and Patrick O'Bryant (um). And I guess Gabe Pruitt? This is a bench that has to back up a starting lineup that includes two youngish guys (Rondo and Perkins are "young vets", but they definitely play young at times) and three guys with a lot of mileage on their bodies in Pierce, Garnett, and Allen. If Allen gets hurt, is your starting two-guard really JR Giddens or Gabe Pruitt? If Pierce goes down, is your small forward Bill Walker? Is this seriously a championship team?
Of course, this just means that Detroit will beat Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, so that if the Lakers manage to push through New Orleans and San Antonio to have a shot at the championship themselves, they'll still face a tough team with an excellent mix of veteran talent and young gunners, a team that can beat you with starters or with bench guys, and a team that can win with offense or defense.
The updated free agent target list:
Ronny Turiaf-- four years, $17 million, front-loaded, Golden State (Lakers can match, but shouldn't) James Posey-- Hornets, four years, $25 million
- DJ Mbenga -- waiting for the phone to ring, I'm sure
Corey Maggette-- five years, $50 million, Golden State
- Sun Yue -- Kupchak wants to bring him over, but no word yet on a deal
- Kurt Thomas -- Spurs are his first choice? Lakers?
Brent Barry-- two years, $3.9 million, Houston
- Craig Smith -- qualifying offer extended by Minnesota
- Carl Landry -- qualifying offer extended by Houston
- Walter Herrmann -- big European money on the table?
- Randolph Morris -- Atlanta?
- Kwame Brown -- Bucks, Heat, Hawks apparently interested
Eduardo Najera-- undisclosed deal with the Nets
- Juwan Howard -- ?
- Robert Horry -- not retiring; Spurs or Rockets?
- Francisco Elson -- not going back to Seattle; Miami?
- Theo Ratliff -- back to Detroit?
- Adonal Foyle -- back to Orlando?
- Quinton Ross -- with Brand gone, maybe the Clippers bring him back, but everyone is interested, including Phoenix, Orlando, New Jersey?
- Bostjan Nachbar -- Detroit? With the Nets adding Najera and Jarvis Hayes, does that mean no room for Nachbar?
- Dorell Wright -- qualifying offer from Miami
- Sasha Vujacic -- qualifying offer from the Lakers
Patrick O'Bryant-- two years, $3 million, Celtics
- David Harrison -- Denver?
- Chris Andersen -- probably not Boston after signing O'Bryant; Cleveland? back to the Nuggets?
- Primoz Brezec -- Seattle, Chicago, Miami?
- Jorge Garbajosa