By now, you've all heard the bad news (sports.espn.go.com) ... Someone was willing to offer James Posey a four-year contract, and that someone was not Danny Ainge; rather, it's the Hornets of New Orleans who will take the gamble on having a 36-year-old wingman taking up space on their future payroll.
So, we're only a couple of weeks removed from championship euphoria - and just a mere three days hence from seeing Posey as a member of the team signing Celtics DVDs (boston.com) - but now comes the cold hard reality of the business side of the National Basketball Association ... Ainge and the owners made a business decision that they could not involve themselves in a long-term commitment with Mister Posey, and he in turn made a decision that he felt was in the best interests of his family's financial stability.
I certainly can't fault Posey for taking the bigger payday (he certainly earned it), and perhaps this will - in time - turn out to be the correct move on the Celtics' part: while this certainly hurts the depth of our bench for next season, it's not like the team still can't put forth a pretty good lineup night in and night out (there are these players called KG and the Truth whom - I've heard - ain't too shabby).
Is anyone really ready to say that we're completely out of the running for Banner No. 18, due to the absence of one man (not named Garnett or Pierce or Allen)? No, the championship window isn't shut just yet, and then - over the next four years - we just might find ourselves with the salary cap flexibility needed to land some incredible players in lieu of Posey, for future championship runs; hey, it could happen!
Of course, having said all that, I can't help but look upon the path that the team has chosen and see a glaring example of the dangers such a decision can bring ... namely, the 2007-08 Miami Heat (dallasnews.com) *shudder*
Remember, Pat Riley didn't feel it was necessary to make a financial commitment to James Posey either, and see where that got him ... From NBA champions in '06 to NBA cellar dwellers just two years later.
Now, one can certainly argue that other factors were at work in Miami's downfall (the loss of other key personnel like Eddie Jones, Dwyane Wade getting hurt, Shaq getting old/disinterested, etc.) ... but the fact remains that the Heat's loss of that championship spark coincided with the departure of the league's premiere sixth man.
His defensity intensity, his commitment to the team ideal, his man-tastic pregame hugs ... Once those things were gone, the Miami ballclub (and their title aspirations) withered and died.
Are the Celtics doomed to suffer a similar fate? Must they follow the same path, that of an aging team who went for it all for the chance at a title, only to quickly implode and become mired in mediocrity once that goal was accomplished?
*Gulp* ... I sure hope not.