[Photo courtesy of sportsofboston.com]
By Aime Mukendi, staff writer, @sir_aimezing
James Posey is an NBA veteran who has had success at all stops during his career, but as the season comes to an end, he is still without a team.
He played a major role in helping the Memphis Grizzlies make their first postseason appearance in 2004, stood by the Big three in Boston as they won the 2008 NBA championship and contributed to the Miami Heat’s first NBA championship run in 2006.
A 12-year veteran, his most recent employment came with the Indiana Pacers.
Posey was drafted in 1999 by the Denver Nuggets and avoided the only lockout in NBA history until this season.
One of the additions to the Collective Bargaining Agreement which helped end the lockout was the new Amnesty Clause. This clause allows for a team to release a player and not have his contract count towards their cap space while still paying the player.
The Indiana Pacers used this clause on James Posey during the shortened offseason making him a free agent.
“Money wise it was a blessing,” Posey said. “Right now I’ve just been working out. I can get a call any day.”
Posey explained he had to acclimate himself to a lesser role with the Pacers.
“In Indiana it was a tough situation,” he said. “They wanted to go young. It was tough but I understood, I wouldn’t want to be in that situation again.”
Teams have made no offers to Posey but he has received a few calls.
“I have gotten phone calls but at the end of the day with anything you hear it’s all talk until things actually happen,” he said on his free agent status.
As a former NBA Champion, Posey says he would prefer a chance at another ring rather then being a mentor on a young team.
“At the end of the day I still want to play,” he said. ” At this point of my career I would like to be on a more veteran orientated team, [where] it’s all about winning.”
During the interview Posey reminisced about his career. He talked about the best teams he played for.
He mentioned the 2004 Memphis Grizzlies that was coached by Hubie Brown, where he played with Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Bo Outlaw, Earl Watson and Jayson Williams and the 2006 Miami Heat team coached by Pat Riley, where he played with veterans Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker and star Dwayne Wade.
He also made sure to mention his time spent with the Big Three of the Boston Celtics.
“Those three teams were special in different ways,” he said.
He shared how each team had different expectations and had different ways of accomplishing their goals. In Memphis it was the hard work in practice, Miami had to meet expectations due to all the big name players, and in Boston it was hard work and camaraderie.
Posey also spoke about how players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen asked him what they needed to do to be like the 2006 Miami Heat team or even be better than that team.
“Those guys with all the accolades to actually listen to me with some of the things I had to say regarding practice or just how we played went a long away,” he said of his time in Boston.
Posey also praised the intensity that Kevin Garnett brought to each practice, which transferred to the games, and helped bring a championship to Boston for the first time since Larry Bird’s Celtics won in 1986.
“He’s paid $100 million and when I say he’s hard in practice like it’s a game that’s what he does. He don’t slack off.” Posey said about Garnett’s competitiveness.
Posey also shared the methods that Pat Riley often used to win in Miami.
” For me it was a great experience. There was no bad blood or beef between me and Pat Riley it was all about winning,” he said. “When I had to miss those games it was a tough pill to swallow. So it was like now I’m the skape goat, blame me for this and that. That’s just another one of his tactics. He’s known to have guys walking on egg-shells. He’s like God walking around there.”
Posey weighed in on the ultimate question as well — who is better LeBron or Kobe?
“I wouldn’t mind playing with LeBron James. He plays the game the right way. He’s very unselfish as a star player like KG. As far as skill set I gotta go with Kobe he’s more polished as a player. He [Kobe} is the more complete player,” was his answer.
Posey said he was able to sustain his career by working hard, something others could learn from.
” I been blessed injury-wise I didn’t have any major injuries. I took care of my body [and] prepared for the season. I accepted [my] role and did it the best I could,” Posey said.