Suns rumors: Boston Celtics courting Leandro Barbosa

It looks like the Phoenix Suns may have finally found a team willing to take reserve guard Leandro Barbosa and the $14.7 million that he’s owed over the next two seasons off their hands.

The Boston Herald recently reported that the Boston Celitcs are interested in Barbosa, as well as Rudy Fernandez, and could move Rasheed Wallace for the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

Wallace is on tap to make $6.32 million next season and $6.79 million in 2011-12, but is expected to retire before next season, meaning the Suns could buy out the big man and save a large chunk of change. The Celtics would also help pay a portion of the buyout.

The deal works in the ESPN NBA Trade Machine and would make sense for both sides, as the Celtics could use another reserve guard and the Suns would like to cut costs.

Needless to say, this news should be music to the Suns’ ears. They’ve been “actively shopping” Barbosa this offseason, and the fact that the Celtics, and apparently the Toronto Raptors, are interested in LB is cause for a sigh of relief.

If Phoenix is able to swing a cost-cutting deal like this than they would have enough cap space to sign another big man to go along with Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins (assuming they both make the team).

It was rumored that the Suns were interested in veteran big man and former Sun Kurt Thomas, but if they are able to rid of Barbosa’s contract then they could chase a bigger-named free agent that isn’t about to keel over.

The Suns could maybe go after another guard, but they would most likely go the inexpensive route and sign a Scottie Reynolds type off the summer league team. So another big man would probably be whom the Suns target.

But the biggest benefit from the Barbosa deal would be felt next offseason, as Jason Richardson’s $14.4 million deal is coming off the books and the Suns could be a serious player in the free agent market.

In fact, as it stands now the Suns will be $12 million under the cap going into the 2011-12 season, assuming Barbosa would exercise his player option that would pay out $7.6 million. But if they are able to deal LB and that $7.6 million they would most likely be in range for a max free agent.

Phoenix would certainly miss LB’s instant offense and likability off of the court, but he is one of the most expendable Suns at this point.

Barbosa used to be an explosive scorer on an extremely reasonable contract. But after battling never-ending injuries, the death of his mother, and decreased playing time due to the increased role of Goran Dragic, he’s never really had a chance to get his feet under him again.

It doesn’t seem like his skill-set has decreased, which should bode well for Boston, but Phoenix simply has other plans in place that don’t exactly involve LB. I talked to Barbosa after a Suns practice in May during Phoenix’s playoff run and he had this to say:

My role on the team is different right now. I got to do whatever coach is asking me to do. It’s a different role. I got to come in and try to give some energy, work really hard on the defense and maybe have my points.

It’s hard because I like to be aggressive and sometimes I want to be aggressive and I can’t because it’s a different situation for me. But I’ve just got to be patient and work really hard and it will come for me.

It’s really different. If you see on the scout report my minutes are really down. Last night I didn’t play well but I played 11 minutes. A couple years ago if I would have played bad it would have been like 30 minutes, even if I play bad.

Barbosa certainly isn’t a bad player to have on your team,. but for almost $15 million over the next two seasons, you can’t blame the Suns for shopping him. Especially after averaging only 17.9 minutes per game last season, it would be crazy not to seek out a trade.

This is obviously only another one of the many Suns rumors, but if Phoenix is able to move LB’s contract, this offseason wouldn’t be as bad as some people may perceive it to be, at least from a future and financial standpoint.

Tags: Leandro Barbosa Phoenix Suns Rumors

  • Dave

    Interesting. Suns may in fact become a free agent contender next year and bring in one of the top small forwards next off season, Melo or Durant (if he doesn't sign an extension) I don't think the Barbosa trade to Boston for the Rasheed Wallace is a good idea considering he's rethinking retirement. The Rasheed buyout will cost at least $5 million for one season if Boston is willing to pay for the second one. Suns should instead trade Barbosa for Baby Davis and either money or second draft pick and sign Scottie Reynolds at $1.2 million or so. I wonder if this might still give the Suns a chance to pursue Lee before July 8th.

  • Gold Star for Robot

    "Who are free-agents-to-be in 2011 – 2012?"

    Melo is the only big name.

  • Joaquin

    My cousin Julio can shoot 90% from Ft and 69% FG. He's willing to sign to the SUNS.

  • Arnie | Vertical Mea

    I actually like this deal. As long as we are throwing in the towel for 2011, lets get some value for some of these guys. Would have been nice to get something for Amare too, but oh well. Gotta feel a little sorry for Nash & Hill, but life could be a lot worse than to make millions, live in Phoenix and play BB for a living.

  • bill russell

    Rasheed Wallace was the best player on the floor for the celtics in the Laker series.

  • Jesus Buttersworth

    Who are free-agents-to-be in 2011 – 2012?

    If barbosa is traded, why not go for David Lee this offseason?

  • Mike Schmitz

    That would be ideal, but the Suns don’t have enough cap room for Lee’s asking price. The biggest name from the 2011 class is Carmelo. There’s also guys like Tayshaun Prince, Tony Parker, Nene, etc. But it all depends on whether or not there’s a lockout.

  • Nash & Ring

    just trade LB for cap space and sign someone like Scola

  • Hayden

    Can a Mike or Tyler give an explanation why there was no chance of a sign and trade with Lee? I saw Stoudemire going to the Knicks but I hoped Sarver would get at least something good back to keep us in contention. For all our clutching at bright sides and consolation prizes, this offseason is looking pretty depressing.

  • Mel.

    Hayden, the apparent problem is that the Suns went ahead and signed Warrick prior to renouncing STAT’s rights. This negated their ability to pursue a sign-and-trade for Amar’e.

    Now, as to how and why the hell this happened, I have NO clue. Cold feet? An attempt to shake STAT and his agent? A decision that getting the STAT issue over with and preparing to rebuild was best for the franchise?

    Or just piss-poor planning?

  • Mel.

    John, I think Barbosa's going to be a different story next year. Some time off and a transition to a new system might be just what he needs; the guy's been a real hoss for the Suns, but he seems strangely out of place with our current bench lineup.

    But as an LB fan, I want to see him go somewhere where he'll be a contributor. If not PHX or Orlando, then Boston certainly figures high on that list.

  • Al

    No one has signed anything. Everything so far is verbal agreement. Sarver can be a D0uch3 if he wants and take back Harriks offer if they want. STAT’s contract can be renounced starting July 8th. Suns can still strike a deal with STAT and Lee and request a sign and trade between the two (include Chandler and Barbosa, maybe). No pen has touched a contract for any NBA, yet.

  • A.j

    I hope Suns are able to trade LB for Rasheed retiring contract. The extra salary should be used to sign Scottie Reynolds and Zabian Dowdell from the Suns summer league roster at 1.3 million or so each. I am also liking the bring Kurt Thomas back at Vet min to mentor the young Suns bigs.

  • suns68

    OK. Maybe I'm missing something but now I'm totally confused.

    The Suns are $12 m below cap now, so if they offload Barbosa, at $7.6 m, wouldn't that give them $19.6 m to pay Stoudemire and remain a top team?

    Why sign and trade for Lee, who isn't as good?

    What makes anyone rhink we could actually get Carmelo? He's the only worthwhile free agent in next year's class, competition for him will be strong and sans Amare, we'll probably end up looking uphill at the Nuggets in the standings this season.

    I can see signing and retiring Sheed (should have been done long ago). Playing him would be a disaster.

  • Mel.

    Screw cutting Sheed; I say we force him to play, after a Frankenstein-style rejuvenation clinic, courtesy of our medical warlocks.

    If we thought the Shaq era was schizophrenic, I can only DREAM about a year with Wallace. Watching him do laps around the US Airway Center every time he gets called for a foul would make what’s looking like an otherwise-unremarkable season worth tuning in for.

  • ripmod

    Forget it Dave; Glen Davis is a top player on a championship team and is certainly worth more than Barbosa and a draft pick!

  • Al

    @Mel: I agree. The Phoenix staff has some of the best medical staff in the league and may be able to rejuvenate Rasheed for 1 to 2 years. Phoenix = Fountain of Youth.

    However, Rasheed may not be able to keep up with the run and gun Suns. Phoenix should trade LB for cap space and draft picks.

  • Michael Schwartz

    We don't know how much consideration the Suns gave to signing David Lee or a sign-and-trade. You have to believe they went through all the scenarios and figured signing Lee or doing a sign-and-trade for him would be too expensive. Or maybe they just didn't think he was worth what he was paid. It's hard to say right now. You want to believe it was something other than piss poor planning.

    If the Suns are able to dump LB, it's really a shame they didn't wait for that to happen before committing to this summer. Everyone's Option A was trying to steal Dirk. He's off the market now, but if the Suns had that $20 million to play with this summer (before the signings), they could have made a run at him.

    Not sure what else they'll get this summer for dealing LB, but it's important for next summer when they could have max money to spend. I wouldn't sign anybody else for more than a year so as not to soak up next year's cash.

  • David

    Why can’t we just put away our money woes and do whatever it takes to win Nash a ring? He deserves one so bad. It would be a shame to see him have to retire without the bling on one of his fingers. I reckon the organisation should just go all out to win the title, then focus on rebuilding after Steve retires, not try to dump player contracts and rebuild while he is still playing.

  • Hayden

    Mel, I agree, that’s what it looks like. I just can’t believe an NBA front office would be that crap, GM or no GM. As much as I like Warrick, we were pretty much the only ones after him, and he could have held off long enough to at least give us a shot at a sign and trade free agent. Lee would have been great in a Suns uniform.

    Still, SHEEEEEEEDDD!!!(*@#!

    I’m crying right now.

  • Hayden

    (I mean it looks like piss poor planning)

    The other reasons seem to amount simply to pride or stupidity and I can’t believe we’d whiff on a great free agent for the sake of that.

    Another possible reason:

    Sarver is crazy cheap and would rather invest in a possible bargain like Warrick than a proven player.

  • John

    As a Celtics fan, I was surprised that most Suns fans seem in favor of this deal. I was expecting a revolt against the suspicion of penny-pinching by Sarver. But if the Suns use Wallace’s buyout to sign another player in a position of greater need, it makes more sense to me.

    I hope this deal goes down for the Celtics. I really hopes it valid. I know Barbosa struggled last year, bricking a lot of open shots that he used to nail all the time but the Celtics really need three point shooting and second-unit scoring. His track record of scoring is too good to think he’s washed up already.

  • undrafted

    @Dave, @A.j
    second round picks will get 0.5 million…

  • Rick


    We are only 3 mill under the cap. Next year we will be over 12 million. if we unload barbosa we would be 19 million under the cap.

  • suns68

    It's a mixed bag. Marion, Bell and Diaw left Nash and were never heard from again.

    On the other hand, Joe Johnson left and became a superstar.

    I do recall Amare did pretty well when he played with Marbury and practically had to rip the ball out of his hands to get touches.

    Will Amare be as good without Nash? My feeling is probably not. But I guess I don't care all that much if he's not in purple and orange. Especially if he's in the east, which might as well be Italy given our chances of making the finals with Hakim Warrick and Earl Clark at power forward.

  • Ryan

    If this deal goes through and Sheed retires maybe we could throw some money as Luis Scola to replace Amare and sign another guy, like Tony Allen….Unless of course Ray Allen wants to go to Phoenix for dirt cheap instead of getting overpaid by a bad team. He could score 40 a game on all open three pointers here in Phoenix…..Wait…Back to reality I'm a Suns fan. Nothing goes our way. Ahhhh, at least I have the baseball season to sooth my woes…Oh wait, I'm a Mets fan. Never mind….FML.

  • Andy F

    I read somewhere ( that Dallas may want to "off" Caron Butler's expiring $10.6 mil contract in order to get a bigger star to play alongside Dirk. Might he be a good fit if the Suns do indeed trade LB? I mean, if things don't work out well w/ Caron, you let him walk (or even trade him at the Feb. trade deadline. He is a proven scorer. That would relegate Grant to the bench, which actually might benefit both him and the Suns rotation.

  • suns68

    oops. comment 25 should have been on the next string.

  • Mel.

    Folks, I think we're overlooking one very crucial option that both Michael and Michael have yet to parse in their analysis of the FA frenzy:


    It would be like the second coming of Joe Kleine; who needs Sheed when we can have the ultimate role player sitting on our bench in street clothes, hooting and hollering encouragement at his teammates?

  • Mel.

    Meez, you're absolutely right. I got ahead of myself in a fugue of orange-fueled fan patriotism; the Celtics are contractually obligated to maintain the presence of at least one bench-loafing white guy whose sole purpose is to evoke bygone images of Bird, McHale and Ainge in their shorty-shorts.

    Though watching Scalabrine take to the floor in Game Seven of the Finals was awesome. I felt like my dad had thrown on a jersey and wandered out onto the court.

  • juan

    hows the team going to be next season without amare ? no more playoffs ?

    and why try to get a top free agent next summer when the only good one is carmelo anthony and he most likely will sign with the knicks.

  • Mike Meez

    No way, Mel! It would be wrong to steal Boston’s token white guy. When are the Celtics ever going to be able to find another big, slow, uncoordinated, white guy with red hair in the NBA?

  • joe

    Sarver is a CHEAP S.O.B.!!!!!! He became the owner of the the team with the brightest future of any team in the league and now look at them. All of our young studs are gone and instead we have an aging Nash and Hill to go along with a bunch of young bench players. Thanks Sarver you PRICK!!!!! Way to turn a potential dynasty into a mediocre lucky to make the playoffs next year team. In 2005 we had a great team and we just needed a center to get some boards and be a shot blocker down low. That's it, and we would have had multiple rings by now for sure. The suns are doomed to be and mediocre team until they have an owner who will spend the dough it takes to win. I'm a life long suns fan. They're the only pro sports team a truly love and I'm FURIOUS. If i ran into sarver on the street i would KICK HIS ASS!!!! F U SARVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • chuck

    I've never understood what the Suns thought their future was as they actively shopped Johnson, Diaw, Marion, STAT, and kept an aging Nash. Is Goran Dragic the future building block? Hakim Warrick? Gani Lawal? The Suns will be a pitiful team if they don't find someone to score inside when they can't run and gun (like every time the other team scores). Best big man out there even close to their price range is probably Udonis Haslem…hardly seems like the answer, but they definitely need SOME upgrade.

  • Hayden

    Two words guys: Robert Swift. Straight up sign and trade. Gotta make it happen.

  • juan



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  • Conor

    Warrick is a quality player, very athletic.

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  • juliee.f.baybee

    Whateverr idgaf if they get barbosa out of here,he reallly doesnt do sh*t but who evr owns the suns is hellla DUMB! They shouldve kept stodemire bkuz without him that only leaves the suns with like a few good players and if steve nash gets injured or something this season (WE’RE F**Kd) seriouslly….but i dont kare,the suns are thee best.