The Green had to make the first tough decision of the offseason, opting not to offer four years to James Posey, who signed a four-year, $25 million deal with New Orleans. The Celtics will miss Posey's defense, outside shooting, and the extras (playoff experience and man hugs, for starters). As the Globe's Bob Ryan said recently, "There's only one James Posey."
However, he's now a Hornet, and the Celtics have to fill his shoes. They still hold their full mid-level exception -- $5.5 million for next season -- so the question is this: Who will they add?
Here are some available players who could replace Posey in the Celtics' rotation:
Matt Barnes, SF, Golden State. A hustle guy who will bring energy first, and a decent offensive game second. Barnes drifted around, then found a place with the Warriors. Was it a flash in the pan, or is the 28-year-old hitting his prime?
Maurice Evans, SG, Orlando. He's small, but a super athlete, Evans is a decent rebounder and likes to throw down on the break. He's not smooth or long, but he could add another dimension to Boston's attack.
Ryan Gomes, SF, Minnesota. Gomes back in green? He's a restricted free agent, meaning the Wolves will have seven days to match any offer, and he'll likely command the full mid-level exception. The son of Waterbury, Conn., and Providence College was just as popular in Minnesota as he was in Boston, averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 boards while hustling and playing all over the floor.
Michael Finley, SG, San Antonio. He's getting up there in years (35) but he can still make buckets in crunch time. He finally got his ring with the Spurs in 2007.
Devean George, SF, Dallas. He was a good defender off the bench for the three-peat Lakers, but he can't do much offensively.
Bostjan Nachbar, SF, New Jersey. The Slovenian won't bring the same defense that Posey did, but he owns a nice stroke and likes to run the floor.
Bonzi Wells, SF, New Orleans. He looks to be out in the Big Easy now that Posey's in. An intriguing option -- he can score and crash the boards, but what's left in the tank? He had an awful 2006-07, then somewhat of a resurgence last year. Not a great free throw shooter.
Robert Swift, C, Oklahoma City. Just kidding, folks.
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