clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

On James Posey

I know y'all have been dying, waiting patiently for @tH's spin on the Posey deal. So at long last, here it is.

The figures and facts have been marinating for a few days in my head now. My initial gut reaction was "Yes!!" My secondary gut reaction was "NOOO!!!!" I think I've finally moved past those.

I'll start by stating two essential pieces of my philosophy. 1) If I were an NBA owner, the bottom line would be winning. Period. Money be damned (By definition, I'm already filthy rich anyway). Number 2) is a little bit longer:

Every great team comes across a "championship window" at some point. For some teams, that window opens extraordinarily quickly and unexpectedly, then closes just as fast (Miami). For others, that window extends for years and years (San Antonio). That's all well and good. The important thing is that a shrewd GM can and does see potential championship windows and assesses just how long they are.

Three things govern championship window size- talent, age, and cap space. Talent is obvious. The better your players are, the more likely it is that they'll win it all. Age is obvious. The younger your good players are, the longer they'll be good.

Cap space is extremely important because none of the great teams are static. GM's need to be able to adapt by bringing in free agents. Look at San Antonio- sure Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan are mainstays, but the supporting cast has been coming and going through a revolving door. Ditto for Detroit. Keeping age and cap space in mind, let's go back to the Hornets.

The Hornets have just entered their own championship window. How long will it last? Good question. Keep in mind, that we want to know how long will it last with our current core? Clearly, CP is only 23 and will ensure the Hornets are good for a long time to come. That's not the issue. The issue is identifying which player or players will begin to decline first. My rough guess is that this New Orleans squad has a 5-6 year window, and it's closely tied to David West being 27. In other words, we've got 5-6 years to win a title without significantly altering the trio of CP-TC-DX (Peja may or may not still be here).

Last thing about the championship window: each year encompassed within it is not necessarily equal. Talent is an ever changing thing. Year 6 will arguably be the weakest among the six, due to West and Chandler's advanced ages. Most likely, Years 1-3 will be profoundly stronger than Years 4-6.

Finally, back to James Posey. New Orleans gave him 4 years, 25 million. John Hollinger wrote a terrific piece for ESPN, questioning how much Posey will contribute in Years 3 and 4. I agree completely. The 4 years, 25 million hamstrings our cap space severely.

But before you get swallowed up in all that, recognize what exactly the Hornets accomplished. We strengthened our championship window for the years of greatest opportunity. No, we didn't address two specific concerns (backup SG, backup F/C), but we did address one that hindered us throughout last season (overall bench quality). Hollinger rightly says that Posey can't create his own shot, but Posey is an amazing rebounder for his size, D's up very well, and shoots the 3-ball well. Most importantly (something that Hollinger and everyone else seem to have ignored) is that Posey will be taking all of Ryan Bowen's minutes- he's a huge upgrade off the bench.

Sports are about relative value added, never about absolute value. Fail to understand that rule, and failure as a GM will come easily.

In the end, it boils down to this- we may have shrunk our championship window from 5-6 years to 3-4 years with the cap inflexibility induced by the Posey deal. But what we lose in time, we gain in quality of that window.

Which one do you want? 5-6 years of going, "Yeah, maybe, this could be the year..."? Or a couple years you go in thinking "This is it. All the pieces are in place, this Hornets team is doing it."?

Jeff Bower and George Shinn picked the latter, and they couldn't have been wiser.