After winning his second NBA title with the Boston Celtics, James Posey has opted to begin his quest for a third championship with the New Orleans Hornets. Posey signed a four-year contract worth $25 million dollars Wednesday afternoon. The deal came less then a month after the 6-foot-8 forward helped lift the Boston Celtics to their 17th Championship.
“It was a really tough decision for him,” said his agent, Mark Bartelstein. “Boston was an incredible experience for him every way you look at it. If he was going to leave Boston, he wanted to make sure it was for a team that would compete for a championship immediately and the Hornets certainly are in that world.”
Posey leaves behind the Big Three in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to join the likes of Chris Paul, David West and Peja Stojakovic in New Orleans.
Boston fans will be sad to see him leave knowing the great defensive prowess he possessed when guarding the likes of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and many of the league’s other top scoring threats.
The Celtics would have loved to re-sign the fan favorite 6th man, but if it was going to take a four-year contract to get him to stay; they may have made the best move for the franchise by letting him go. At 31 years old, Posey’s age is certainly going to become a factor over the course of this contract. He may have one or two solid years left in him but asking for four is a stretch.
As for now, Boston fans can only wish Posey the best of luck in New Orleans, and pray that when he comes into town he takes in easy while covering Pierce.
The Boston Celtics added a new big man to their bench today, signing Center, Patrick O’Bryant. Patrick is expected to back up Kendrick Perkins at Center and compete with Leon Powe and “Big Baby” Davis for time off the bench.
The 22 year old O’Bryant has been somewhat of a disappointment in his first two years of NBA play. The young big man was drafted by the Golden State Warriors 9th overall in the 2006 draft. The Warriors had high expectations for O’Bryant who averaged 13.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in his second and final year at Bradley but the 20 year old struggled early and saw little playing time.
O’Bryant signed a two year, $3 million contract with the Boston Celtics and is eager to show what he can do. The young center knows he’s perceived as an under-achiever and his anxious to work towards his potential.
“I know how good a basketball player I am,” O’Bryant said. “Everyone else doesn’t know. With hard work and minutes, I’ll show everyone why I was the ninth pick in the draft.”
The Celtics expect to continue their efforts to sign free agents, James Posey and Eddie House. Both men were exceptional off the bench and played pivotal roles in the Celtics Championship run.
Less then one month after the Boston Celtics captured their 17th NBA Championship, many teams around the league are already beginning to try and make some adjustments so that they can put themselves in contention for a title run. Many teams have begun to sign their lottery draft picks and several free agents are close to signing multi-year deals with new teams.
It is expected that the Golden State Warriors will sign Corey Maggette to a five year deal estimated right around $50 million dollars. Last season, Maggette averaged 22.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the struggling Los Angeles Clippers. At 6-foot-6, great speed and a soft perimeter touch, he would fit right into Golden State coach Don Nelson’s run and gun style of play.
The Philadelphia 76ers continue to make moves, freeing up salary cap space which many suspect is so that they can make a strong offer to Elton Brand to come and play for them. On Tuesday the 76ers traded away forward Rodney Carney, a future first round draft pick and reserve forward Calvin Booth to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a future second round draft pick and $2.8 million dollars. The Sixers now have another $2 million in salary cap space to add to the $11 million in space available that they hope will land them the post player in Brand that they desperately need to become a contender in the East.
First round draft pick O.J. Mayo (third pick overall) signed a multi-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. The Grizzlies pulled off an eight player trade the night of the NBA draft to acquire the rights to the third pick and land Mayo. Memphis also announced the signing of Darrell Arthur, the 27th overall selection of this year’s draft.
The number one and two picks of this years’ NBA Draft have been in the spotlight in the early action of the NBA’s summer league games. Michael Beasley (2nd pick in the draft) scored 28 points in the first game of the summer season for the Miami Heat but then followed it up with only a 9 point outing in the second game a night later. Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls (1st pick in the draft) scored 10 points in his NBA summer league debut against Miami and Beasley and then followed it up with 9 points in his second game against the Indiana Pacers.
In other league news, the NBA set the new salary cap at $58,680,000 for the 2008-2009 season. This year’s cap went up by more than $3 million dollars over last season’s, which was set at $55.630 million. The minimum team salary for 2008-09 was 75 percent of the cap, or $44.010 million.
On Sunday in Orlando, Michael Beasley made the case for why he should have been picked number one in the NBA draft. Beasley looked confident on the floor; racking up 29 points and 9 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play.
“It’s just basketball, man. Played it in college, high school and middle school,” Beasley said in a post-game interview. “The same game, same concepts, the same rules. I was just out there having fun.
Beasley did not seem to be bothered by the cracked sternum he suffered Wednesday in a practice session with the Heat.
“I felt like me, man… I don’t play to get injured, and if it happens it just does. I just go and play.”
Number one pick Derrick Rose, on the other hand, seemed a step behind the game. He seemed tentative and slow in his professional debut, with only rare flashes of the speed and athleticism that the Bulls were expecting
As the New Jersey Nets clear cap space (getting rid of Richard Jefferson’s contract in the trade for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons) the rumors and speculation of Lebron James in New York get louder. Lebron, a frequent visitor to NY, and lists it as his favorite city.
“My favorite borough? Brooklyn, said James. “Brooklyn is definitely a great place here in New York City, and some of my best friends are from Brooklyn, so I stick up for them.”
Among those friends is hip-hop icon Jay-Z, a close friend of James’ and partial owner of the Nets. Jay-Z helped orchestrate the 2010 relocation of the nets to Brooklyn; the first pro team that will play in the borough since the Dodgers in 1957.
James can opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Summer of 2010, and would become an unrestricted free agent. The future Brooklyn Nets would still need to move Zach Randolph, and either Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries, or Jamal Crawford to free up enough cap space to pay Lebron a max contract.
The Knicks would also be in a position to offer max money to Lebron, although they would not be ready until 2011.
Golden State Warriors guard Baron Davis has opted out of his contract for next year. Davis had reportedly been frustrated by the team’s inability to sign him to a long term deal, as well as their issues re-signing young guns Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis.
“[Opting out] was a difficult decision, to say the least,” Davis’ agent Todd Ramasar said. “The past couple years, he’s had a lot of success with the Warriors, and I think they’ve had a lot of success with him. But he had gotten to the point that we were at a crossroads and it was something we had to address. … With no extension or deal in place … [opting out] was a bit unexpected but something that I advised Baron to do.”
Unless he does a “sign-and-trade” deal with Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers are the most likely new team for Davis. The only other teams that currently have cap room are Memphis and Philadelphia, neither of which has as urgent of a need at guard as the Clippers.
The Warriors have not commented on any future plans to negotiate with Davis.
Since the 2005-2006 season, Davis has an average of 20.2 points and 8.1 assists per game.
Thursday night, the NBA Champion Boston Celtics selected J.R. Giddens with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft. They also selected Semih Erden with the 60th and final pick of the night. The Celtics hope that both players will be able to help the franchise that just captured their 17th title.
Giddens, a 6’5″ guard out of New Mexico, was the Co-Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference last season averaging 16.3 points a game as well as 8.8 rebounds a night. Giddens began his college career as a Kansas Jayhawk but decided to transfer to New Mexico after his sophomore season was complete. He recorded 10 double-doubles during his senior year and led the Lobos to a 24-9 record on the season.
Erden, a 7’0″ center from Turkey, is a 21 year old big man with lots of potential. For his size he is very mobile and runs the floor well but will need to work on his defensive intensity if he ever wants to see time in the league.
The Celtics also made a deal with the Washington Wizards for the 47th draft pick on the night, Bill Walker, for an undisclosed amount of cash. Walker, a 6’6″ forward out of Kansas State, averaged 16.1 points a game during his sophomore season. He’s a great athlete that explodes when going to the basket but has been criticized at times for his shot selection and ball handling.
These three youngsters look to join the 2008-2009 Celtics roster and make a run at Green 18. Giddens has the best shot of making the team because the Celtics are very unlikely to re-sign veteran PG Sam Cassell. Eddie House is also currently unsigned and it is uncertain if he will opt to look for a multi-year deal or agree to another one year contract with Boston.
In the meantime, the Celtics continue to try and negotiate a deal with free-agent James Posey. The 6th man provided a huge defensive lift all season long and has the ability to drain a clutch 3-point shot when it’s needed. It will come down to if Posey wants his role to remain the same or if he wants to jump ship to another team for more money and become a starter.
For now, the Celtics are still just enjoying the fact that they are the NBA Champions and will be raising another banner in the fall.
Ace Ticket is now offering highly-collectible and authentic Boston Celtics 2008 Postseason tickets. The tickets are all of the season ticket variety and are in excellent to mint condition. These tickets make the perfect souvenir for what was an unforgettable season for the Boston Celtics. Tickets will be sold on an individual and strip basis. You can purchase a set of Finals only tickets as well as a full playoff strip. (more)
As the final seconds ticked down on the clock during Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, cries of “SEVEN-TEEN, SEVEN-TEEN” rained down from the TD Banknorth Garden. The Boston Celtics had done it; they’d beaten the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to capture their first title in 22 years and in doing so secured themselves a spot in history with some of the all-time great Celtics teams that were able to hang championship banners from the old Boston Garden rafters.
There will be a new banner hanging in Boston very shortly, and it may be the most meaningful one of all.
In the most dramatic turnaround in NBA history, the same Celtics club that was only able to win 24 games last season persevered to rise to the elite status that many are never fortunate enough to experience. Boston fans had long awaited for their teams return to glory and after last nights 48 minutes of dominating play, there is no question that the Boston Celtics are once again the best team in the NBA.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen can now join the long list of Celtics greats to have been able to win a championship ring with the NBA’s most successful franchise.
“It means so much more because these are the guys, the Havliceks, the Bill Russells, the Cousys,” Pierce said. “These guys started what’s going on with those banners. They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones… And now I’m a part of it.”
A big part of it. Pierce was named the Finals MVP, a well deserved honor awarded to the Celtics captain and leader. During the series he averaged 21.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Something that you won’t see in any box score is the job he did defending the regular season MVP, Kobe Bryant. On the series, Bryant was held to a 40.5% shooting percentage from the field which was well below his playoff average of 48% from the floor.
It’s almost unfair to call Tuesday nights match up “Game 6″ because it wasn’t a game at all. The Celtics coasted to a 39 point victory, which set a new NBA record for largest margin of victory in a clinching title game. The previous record had been a 33 point margin in Boston’s 129-96 win in Game 5 of the 1965 NBA finals vs., you guessed it, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Every member on the team was able to contribute in the victory which made it that much sweeter. Boston’s bench picked up 39 points shooting 57% (12-21) and every member that checked into the game scored at least 2 points in the win.
The starters weren’t so bad themselves. Garnett led the way with a huge night scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 boards in 36 minutes of play. Allen also dropped 26 points, nailing 7 of 9 three point shots he attempted. Rajon Rondo stepped up in the clutch scoring 21 points, hauling down 7 rebounds, dishing out 8 assists while collecting 6 steals for a very well rounded line.
Over the course of the game, Boston just continued to build on their lead. After the first quarter they led by 4 points, 24-20. They outscored LA 34-15 in the second quarter to increase their halftime lead to a commanding 58-35 margin. A 31-25 scoring advantage in the third quarter put the C’s ahead 89-60 entering the fourth quarter and Boston continued to bring the heat, exploding for 42 points in the final 12 minutes of play to round out the scoring at 131-92.
Some Celtics legends were even on hand to witness the one sided victory including Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Jo-Jo White, Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Walton. GM Danny Ainge sat courtside to marvel at the team he helped create with a few brilliant off-season trades and signings.
And somewhere, Red Auerbach watched as well, most likely with a victory cigar in his mouth, lighting up to the NBA’s greatest franchise ever. The Celtics victory also prevented Lakers head coach Phil Jackson from surpassing Auerbach in the wins column for total championships as a head coach. The two are still knotted at nine a piece.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was nothing but smiles late in the game and Pierce made sure to let him know just how much he cares by dumping a cooler of red Gatorade over his head with very little time remaining on the clock, to symbolize that the game was over and they had done it, together. Early on in the season Rivers had called a team meeting and used an African word, ubuntu, which translates to “I am, because we are” in English, as the Celtics’ unifying team motto.
Last night was UBUNTU at its finest.
There will be no more question marks surrounding the careers of Pierce, Garnett and Allen. They three proved they have what it takes to win it all, and now they have rings to prove it. During the post-game celebration, Garnett hugged Russell in the center of the court, an exchange that will become just another part of the organizations rich history.
“I got my own. I got my own,” Garnett said. “I hope we made you proud.”
“You sure did,” Russell said.
Congratulations Boston Celtics, you are the champions of the NBA, and your city could not be more proud of you. With last nights victory, Boston’s 22 year quest for Green 17 is now complete and so begins a new journey… the road to repeat… Green 18!
The Boston Celtics are home for good and hope that tonight’s Game 6 match up against the Los Angeles Lakers will be their last of the season. A win would mean the return to glory in capturing the franchises 17th NBA title, a quest they have been on for 22 years. While Boston sits one win away from making history, the Lakers hope to extend the series to a Game 7 which would be Thursday night in Boston and will also try to make history in becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win a title.
The story of the Finals so far has been the leadership of Celtics veteran guard Paul Pierce. Pierce is averaging 22.8 points a game in the finals as well as 5.6 assists. Those numbers have lifted the play of some of his teammates including Rajon Rondo who had a 16 assist effort in the Celtics Game 2 victory. Leon Powe also had a break out Game 2 performance netting 21 points in only 15 minutes of action.
Besides elevating his teammates play, Pierce has done an excellent job of shutting down the NBA’s best player and MVP in Kobe Bryant. In the 15 playoff games leading up to the Finals, Bryant averaged 31.9 points a game. In the Finals, Pierce is holding Bryant to 26.4 points a night and about 7 of those points are coming from the free throw line each game. On the series, Bryant is shooting 42% from the field, which is considerably down from his first three playoff series against the West in which he shot 169 of 332 from the floor, good for 51%. Pierce’s presence can certainly be felt.
“We’re one up, with two games to go at home,” said Pierce, who dropped 38 points in Game 5. “It still feels like we have the advantage, and I do feel like we’re the better team.”
Boston hopes to see Ray Allen stay hot from behind the arc. The sharpshooter has connected on 15 of 33 shots from 3-point land in the Finals, a 45% clip.
The Celtics were without starting center Kendrick Perkins in the Game 5 loss in LA due to a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the series. His presence was missed as the Lakers were able to capitalize multiple times on second chance points in the paints. He will be a game time decision tonight but his team is hoping he’s ready to go.
“Perk is a physical guy,” said teammate Kevin Garnett. “He plays the post better than anybody in this league. That’s what he does. When you lose a key guy, you’re losing something.”
Garnett himself is still looking for a breakout game in the Finals and what a better time to have the performance than in a potential championship clincher. Versus L.A., KG is averaging only 16.6 points a night compared to the 21.1 he had been averaging in the three playoff series against the Eastern Conference teams (ATL, CLE, DET). He called his Game 5 performance “disgusting” and vowed that Game 6 would be a different story as he and the rest of the Celtics are excited to return home.
“It’s going to be like coming into the Amazon, into the jungle,” he said. “I look forward to coming home and playing.”
The entire city of Boston is fired up for tonight’s Game 6 match up. For the first time in over 20 years a local team has the chance to capture a league title in their hometown. The 04′ and 07′ Red Sox won the World Series on the road, and with the rotating Super Bowl locations the Patriots weren’t even close to New England for their three titles in 01′, 03′ and 04′.
Tonight has the potential to be something amazing. Hopefully, Boston is the city where amazing happens and the Celtics long quest for Green 17 becomes a reality. With a win tonight the Celtics will get their 17th banner in game 6 on 6/17.