Celtics set to sign Leandro Barbosa, continue their backcourt stockpile
By Rob Mahoney
Just in case it wasn’t apparent that creating roster depth was a priority of the Celtics’ offseason, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported that Boston has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent Leandro Barbosa on a one-year contract. Considering that the Celtics are well over the salary cap and have already used the mid-level exception on Jason Terry, Barbosa’s deal will be for either the veteran’s minimum or some portion of Boston’s bi-annual exception — and based on the timing of this signing, it seems safe to assume the former.
This is an ideal situation for Barbosa, who frankly doesn’t have the game to warrant 20 minutes a night anymore. Such is an inevitability for speedy guards who fail to evolve; Barbosa leaned heavily on his quickness up until the moment it left him, and in the years since, he has become solely an inefficient jump shooter when asked to create for himself. Yet when put in a position where he can play off of others rather than force his own attempts, Barbosa is still capable of being a mildly useful offensive player.
That makes him a pretty nice get for a fifth guard, if not quite as good as his reputation suggests. Barbosa hardly lives up to his career marks these days, and though he’s been classified as a combo guard since his early days in Phoenix, he struggles in executing even basic half-court offense. Luckily, Barbosa likely won’t be asked to do all that much ball handling in Boston with so many capable guards in the rotation ahead of him, making his weaknesses on that end slightly less glaring.
Doc Rivers can only hope that the same is true of Barbosa’s defensive flaws. Even Kevin Garnett’s presence on the back line may not be enough to prevent Barbosa from turning into a complete defensive liability, as he proved to be with the Pacers in their second-round series against the Miami Heat.
There will be a lot to manage if Barbosa ends up climbing the depth chart due to injuries to other rotation players, but he makes a lot of sense in a minor role with limited minutes.