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Hornets eye Posey? Spurs tops for Maggette?

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff  July 8, 2008 11:21 AM

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Will the Celtics be able to pull in either James Posey (41) or Corey Maggette when free agent signing begins Wednesday? (Matthew J. Lee / Globe Staff)

Could the Celtics miss out on their two biggest targets this offseason?

On the day before NBA free agents can begin signing contracts, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported this morning that the Hornets are zeroed in on former Celtics swingman James Posey. Meanwhile, the San Antonio Express-News suggested that the Spurs are at the front of the line for Corey Maggette.

In today's edition, the Times-Picayune's John Reid writes:

The Hornets are targeting Boston Celtics free agent James Posey to solve their needs at shooting guard, but whether Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower can pull off a deal is uncertain.

Free agents can begin signing contracts Wednesday, and Posey is one of the most sought after on the market. Posey, who can play shooting guard and small forward, appears to be one of the Hornets' No. 1 targets. However, it likely would take a full mid-level exception offer of $5.8 million for him to consider coming to New Orleans.

Since July 1, the first day teams could begin contacting free agents, Bower has been in discussions with Posey's agent, Mark Bartelstein. Posey, 6 feet 8, was the Celtics' top reserve and played a key role against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
"Jeff and I have had a lot of conversations," Bartelstein said. "We're talking."

Bartelstein represents a handful of Celtics, including first-round draft choice J.R. Giddens and free agents Eddie House and Scot Pollard. The Hornets were previously talking with the seemingly popular agent about Jannero Pargo, a free-agent guard New Orleans hopes to bring back, according to the Times-Picayune.

Reid also writes:

Last month, the Hornets traded the draft rights of Kansas forward Darrell Arthur, whom they selected with the 27th overall pick, to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for nearly $3 million in cash to be used toward free agency.

After the deal was completed, Coach Byron Scott said the Hornets are a team of now and they planned to sign a veteran in free agency who could step in right away.

The Globe's Frank Dell'Apa caught up with Paul Pierce yesterday and the captain continues to lobby for the Green to bring back both Posey and Eddie House.

From today's Globe:

"It's tough when you win a championship," Pierce said. "I've been talking with [general manager] Danny [Ainge] practically every day. Obviously, James's stock has gone up, Eddie's stock has gone up. They are the two most important guys we are trying to sign. It's difficult. Hopefully, they will return, because those guys were a big key to what we did."

In San Antonio, the Express-News's Jeff McDonald suggests Maggette entered the holiday weekend leaning toward the Spurs.

From the Express-News on July 4:

Three days into the NBA’s free agency period, Corey Maggette is still talking to teams and weighing his options. It appears the free-agent swingman is heading into the holiday weekend a little bit closer to becoming a Spur than he was before the week began.

A source close to the negotiations said Thursday that, though no deal is imminent, talks between the Spurs and Maggette are serious and the interest is mutual.

The Spurs are believed to have offered Maggette a multi-year deal, starting with their $5.8 million mid-level exception. Maggette became an unrestricted free agent this week when he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Meanwhile, published reports out of Orlando suggest the team perceived to be the Spurs’ stiffest competition for Maggette might be near dropping out of the race altogether.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic are formalizing a contract offer for free-agent point guard Chris Duhon, perhaps by the end of the week. In that event, Orlando would be all but forced to abandon courtship of Maggette.

The Spurs’ most significant challenger for Maggette’s services might now be the new NBA champions.

The Boston Celtics have made an offer to Maggette as well, one he told the Boston Globe on Thursday he is seriously considering. The most the Celtics could offer Maggette is the mid-level exception, same as the Spurs.

So, Celtic fans, are you concerned about losing out on both Posey and Maggette? Sound off in our discussion forum or leave a comment.

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