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Hornets officially sign Posey, look to him for veteran experience

NEW ORLEANS -- James Posey knows what NBA championship teams look like, and he thinks the New Orleans Hornets are beginning to bear some resemblance.

A key reserve on Boston's championship team last season and Miami's two seasons before that, Posey officially became a Hornet on Wednesday after signing a four-year, $25 million contract.

The versatile 6-foot-8 forward said he saw enough of the Hornets during a franchise-best 56-win march to the Southwest Division title, a first-round playoff victory over Dallas, and a seven-game series with San Antonio to believe he can win a third ring in New Orleans.

"I look for them to do big things this upcoming season, after the great things they did last season," he said. "I want to contribute as best I can.

"You can see, it's just sitting right there with the young core they have. Chris Paul is a great leader and with David West, Peja [Stojakovic] and Tyson Chandler, they have a group that competes every single day. I hope I'm the missing piece that furthers them on this journey."

Posey averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds and made 38 percent of his 3-pointers in 74 regular-season games for Boston. In 26 playoff games, he averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, making 40 percent of long-range shots.

In nine seasons with five teams, Posey's averaged 9.2 points and 4.9 rebounds.

"Many times a player's statistics paint an inaccurate picture," Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said. "James' stats only tell half the story. He's all about his team and playing whatever role is necessary for him to contribute.

"He likes doing the hard things, the rebounding, the loose balls, the competitive nature, the things that turn into points and rebounds for himself and for his teammates."

New Orleans is counting on Posey to be able to guard shooting guards and small forwards, add an outside scoring threat and provide leadership off a bench that was shaky last year.

"We thought of James Posey as the best free agent available and he fits exactly what we're doing," coach Byron Scott said. "He has passion on the defensive end and he has the versatility to play two or three positions. He'll guard anybody. He doesn't care."

Posey had expressed a desire to stay with the Celtics, but they wouldn't offer him more than a three-year deal.

"At the end of the day there is a business side, but the most important thing is that basketball-wise, this is a great opportunity," Posey said. "This is why you play the game, for the opportunity to compete for championships and a chance to win one."