Barbosa's style of plan is easy to explain; it's all offense and no defense. This does not fit with the Bulls philosophy of defense first; then again, nor did Eddy Curry. Nor Michael Sweetney. Nor Ben Gordon. Nor Andres Nocioni. Nor Drew Gooden. And yet all were made into acceptable defenders in their time here, except Gooden.
His time in Phoenix might be drawing to an end, for two reasons; Barbosa's perpetually terrible playoff production, and the continued emergence of Goran Dragic. A three guard rotation of Steve Nash, Jason Richardson and Dragic is no worse than a three guard rotation of Nash, Richardson and Barbosa - therefore, the $7.1 million being spent on Barbosa is being spent unnecessarily. Barbosa is a good player with value to any team, but to Phoenix, his value is marginalised by the play of others. Keeping him around is a luxury more than a necessity, and there's a tax in the NBA to fight against such luxuries.
The perennially tax-paying Suns need that money. Regardless of what happens with Amare Stoudemire, the Suns need to maintain their depth if they are to maintain competitive. To that end, free agents Channing Frye and Louis Amundson need to be brought back. With Ben Wallace's deadweight contract expiring, the Suns might just have the wiggle room to do this without being tax payers: however, they've surely had enough of fighting with that enemy over the years, no doubt still haunted by the memories of the assets it has cost them over the years. If they weren't paying $7.1 million for a third string guard who could readily be a fourth string guard, they'd have the money to retain their good players and maybe add more. Who knows; with an MLE to spend for a change, maybe they could even add Anthony Morrow. A bench unit of Dragic, Morrow, Amundson, Frye and Jared Dudley is a damn fine bench unit.
Today’s other completed trade, thus far, sees another salary dump. Indiana’s swaths of unused cap space have just been used on someone other than Chris Kaman, as they trade a future second round pick to Toronto in exchange for two guards, Leandro Barbosa and Anthony Carter (probably).
The 29-year-old Barbosa played his best basketball a couple of years ago, in the Seven Seconds or Less era, and hasn’t been as productive since it ended. He can’t get to the rim like he once could, prefers the long two to the three for some reason, and just is not especially efficient for one who shoots so much. Nevertheless, he still produces highly, to the tune of 12.2 points and absolutely nothing else per game, a bench scorer so productive that on certain nights this year that he has carried the Raptors offense to victories on nights that they probably didn’t want their offense carrying them to victories. It’s tough to tank when your 29-year-old veteran is scoring 17 points in 25 minutes and eking out wins over fellow tankers. But this is what Barbosa does, and in adding a high caliber sixth man while subtracting nothing from their incumbent roster, the Pacers just improved themselves significantly.
Leandro Barbosa - In direct contrast to promise of the opening blurb, Barbosa is currently signed in his native Brazil with Pinheiros, but on a contract that permits him to leave should a playoff team come in for him. He is averaging 22.2 points in 33.4 minutes per game in five games this season, his scoring output improving in every game. As his conditioning continues to improve, Barbosa is a highly likely mid-season call-up candidate.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.