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Ainge wants Posey back

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  June 25, 2008 03:39 PM

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Danny Ainge said he had a list of 23 different names that could fit into that last draft spot when the Celtics pick tomorrow night.

Who fits best is what he’s not so sure about.

But what he was certain of when he talked to reporters in a teleconference this afternoon was the fact that bringing James Posey back next year was just as much of a priority as the draft.

Posey is likely to pass on the $3.4 million option for the 2008-2009 season and attract offers from any number of teams looking for a gritty defender and timely scorer with championship credentials.

“We want James back,” Ainge said. “That’s my position. We need to come to an agreement, what is a fair agreement with him, that process will start on July 1 when he can go test the free agent market and see what’s available, just weigh his options and choices because I’m sure he’ll have choices.”

In Posey, the Celtics had one of the most instrumental bench players in the league. Posey Average 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds last season and his 11 points in Game 6 of the NBA Finals sparked the run that buried Los Angeles helped guide Boston to its 17th championship.

Ainge knows that it would be hard to replace that in the draft. He said the 30th pick has a five percent chance of being a starter and doubted if a player taken with the last pick tomorrow has a chance of helping the team.

“We have a deep roster as it is,” he said. “I don’t know. We hope that we can but the odds are we don’t.”

Ainge didn’t rule out the possibility of drafting a player and sending him overseas to develop, saying that a move like that would save a team when it came to the luxury tax as well as cutting the costs of developing the player. “Then when you get them,” he said, “you maximize their value when they do come aboard.”

When asked about PJ Brown’s future with the team, Ainge said Brown was leaning toward retirement.

Brown would be 39 when the 2008-09 season started, and he was all but retired this past season before Ray Allen and Paul Pierce ran into him during the All-Star break in New Orleans and talked him into returning.

“PJ is on the mindset that his career is over, but he hasn’t completely, completely cleared the books.” Ainge said. “But that’s where he is leaning. But we’ll talk as he gets home (Slidell, La.), gets settled and July 1 rolls around. We may have some more discussions.”

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