Leandro Barbosa ‘in contact’ with Suns, per LB

Former Sun and current free agent Leandro Barbosa told a Brazilian basketball blog that the Suns are one of three teams he has been “in contact” with.

Although the Phoenix Suns’ 13-man roster appears to be set, Leandro Barbosa told a Brazilian sports site that the Suns are one of the teams he’s “in contact” with, along with the Lakers and the Nets.

Barbosa described the Suns as a “a franchise I have a history with, have spent great years there” in an interview with the Brazilian basketball blog Bala na Cesta, as translated by long-time VotS reader Artur Mascarenhas.

LB said that his good friend Steve Nash has messaged him about reuniting with the Lakers and that talks with LA were “very hot” during the Olympics before the Lakers signed Jodie Meeks to play the bench wing scorer role.

Barbosa would have no problem playing for the minimum “for a contender,” having just finished the five-year, $34 million deal he originally signed in Phoenix. Like Lou Amundson a few years back, LB feels some teams were scared off thinking he would ask for a higher salary, but “that’s not the case.”

If he does not receive a bite from an NBA team, Barbosa plans to play next season in his native Brazil.

However, he clearly would prefer to remain in the Association as he said he has no deadline and would even consider signing a deal after the season starts.

“Of course, there’s always the possibility that a deal never happens,” Barbosa said. “I’m aware of this and being realistic. The important thing right now is that there’s interest from teams.”

At 29, Barbosa is not exactly over the hill despite playing nine seasons in the league, and as we saw in the Olympics when he paced the Brazilians with 16.2 ppg, the man can still fill it up.

Yet his defense, never a strong suit, was utterly exposed during the Pacers’ playoff defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat, particularly when Dwyane Wade attacked him.

I still feel Barbosa has a few good years left as a microwave guy off the bench who can score you points in bunches but will need to be hidden on defense.

However, I don’t feel like that skill set is needed in Phoenix, where Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown and perhaps even Wes Johnson will share time at the two.

The Suns often only carry the roster minimum, and unless one of their guards suffers a long-term injury they don’t need another mouth to feed for playing time.

Of course, it certainly does not hurt if the Suns have in fact kept in contact with Barbosa as a trade or injury could put them in need of a wing scorer in a hurry, and there is no better such player currently on the open market than LB.

I have no doubt that Barbosa could still carry a reserve unit offensively, and at the veteran’s minimum he could be a bargain for a contender, so hopefully for his sake he finds a team in need of scoring punch off the pine soon.

Vastly different opinions of Marshall

I feel like we rushed through draft coverage of 2012 first-rounder Kendall Marshall because the day after his introductory press conference all the Nash rumors started swirling, and all of a sudden free agency was on in full force.

Therefore, I feel like this is the right time to go back and examine two very different perspectives on the Suns’ rookie.

First off, Bradford Doolittle’s ATH system for projecting rookies believes the Suns made a colossal mistake.

This system “estimates how well a player’s amateur production will translate based on certain athletic factors, such as foul-drawing ability, rebounding, shot-blocking and steals.” Doolittle used this system to project WARP for each draftee’s first four NBA seasons and correlated that to dollars.

Marshall rated out with a -22.1 projected WARP and thus a net value of $-4.5 million under the rookie scale. In other words, it’s projecting him to play so bad he should owe the Suns money.

What can I say? The ATH system hates, hates, hates Kendall Marshall. Only [Meyers] Leonard rates as a worse athlete. He’s the lowest usage player in the first round and still doesn’t project to be particularly efficient. His defense rates as poor. The system doesn’t give him full credit for his real strength, which is playmaking. That’s just sort of submerged into his offensive rating. However, that didn’t hold back other point guards that we rated.

Ian Levy of HoopSpeak explains why the Suns decided to select Marshall despite his lack of athleticism, and it all comes down to the fact that he “has passed more often, and to greater effect, than any player who has entered the NBA in more than a decade.”

As Levy notes, no player in the past 11 years has matched Marshall’s absurd average of 1.56 assist for every field goal attempt. Here’s why that happened, per Levy:

He has become a generous individual to the nth degree because he knew who he was and what he was supposed to be doing from the moment he was first inserted in the starting lineup. He knew his job was to move defenders, with his shoulders, with his eyes, to bring the ball across half-court and sheppard it into the hands of a player more suited than him for the much celebrated responsibility of putting it through the basket. In his collegiate career there has been development and growth, but all within the framework he selected. I mean this not as a criticism. In fact, I find myself in awe of a player with such consistent devotion to his own truth. …

Marshall’s statistical profile is unlike any other, but it slips below the radar for lack of rim-rattling dunks and step-back three-pointers to provide punctuation. But don’t miss an opportunity to appreciate a player the likes of whom we may not see again for years. Take note of Kendall Marshall. Even in a time of universal exceptionality, his repetitive and responsible subtlety is a revolutionary act.

Dudley excited about Scola

Luis Scola arrived for the Suns’ informal workout on Wednesday, and Jared Dudley for one liked what he saw.

Tags: Kendall Marshall Leandro Barbosa

  • Andres

    Not sure who would be the odd man out if they sign LB… maybe Tucker?

  • Andres

    Regarding Marshall, I just hope he ends up being a Jason Kidd 2.0. Great passers dont grow on trees and he could improve his shooting skills as we’ve seen with other players so I’m not really worried about that but great passing skills are such a rare skill nowadays

  • Ty-Sun

    I really doubt the Suns are seriously considering adding LB to the roster at this point but just keeping that door open… just in case.

    Even with all the knocks on Marshall I think he could be the kind of player to get the best out of the bench unit when they’re on the court. I think he’ll do fine once he gets acquainted with his new teammates, Gentry’s system and the pace of the NBA.

  • DBreezy

    Coro says Suns aren’t interested in LB

  • http://n/a Keith

    He and his agent are just trying to drum up interest and a contract. Not surprising.

  • steve

    Like others have said, I doubt the Suns are interested… and that’s a good thing.

  • Scott

    Ian Levy doesn’t get out onto the farm much, I’m going to guess. It’s “shepherd,” not “sheppard.” :)

    As for Leandro … if his defense was reliably better, teams would like him a lot more. With his long arms, his defense *should* be better than it is. I don’t know if a focus on defensive training would help him, but he should seriously consider it.

    If the Suns are willing to take him, Barbosa ought to try to join the Suns for training camp. Telfair credited Suns’ assistant coach Elston Turner for helping him amp up his defense, and we saw what Telfair could do when he put his mind to it. Maybe Turner could help Barbosa as well.

    That said … I don’t see the Suns adding Barbosa to the roster unless the Suns lose a PG to trade or injury.

    @Andres -

    I think Marshall will be his own player, but yeah … he could end up being a bit like the older J. Kidd, and more like Kidd than any other PG.

    I’d like to see Marshall pick up penetration skills.

  • Scott
  • Scott

    Players should downright fear being signed in Portland. News out today says G Elliot Williams is out with a ruptured Achilles tendon. This is after playing only part of last season due to a shoulder injury, and missing the entire previous season due to injures needing surgery to both his knees.

  • Tony

    The rebuilding and lottery-bound Suns really don’t need Barbosa. Sure he is better than Johnson and more offensively explosive than Dudley, but because he’s on the downside of his career and the Suns aren’t going to be contenders anytime in the near future, signing him would take away playing time from developing players, such as Marshall and WJ.

    As far as Marshall is concerned, he was very unimpressive in Summer League and is probably the most unathletic 1st round perimeter player in this year’s draft. Combined with his lack of athleticism, his poor shooting ability is going to likely lead him to being a role player at best

  • Ty-Sun

    I’m not concerned about Marshall’s upside as much as a lot of people. At worst I think he will turn out to be the best passing PG in the NBA… coming off the bench. One thing that hurts a lot of bench units is not having a good distributor when they are on the court.

    I think this year’s Suns’ bench unit will be much better than last year, partially because of Marshall and partially because the Suns will just have a few stronger bench players. I would not be surprised if the Suns’ bench outplays many stronger teams’ bench units this year and may even win a few games for them that people won’t expect the Suns to win.

    The names may have changed but I think that “killer bench” unit may return this year.

    And considering how the draft went down this year, EVERY player that I hoped that the Suns might draft over Marshall was already taken before the Suns pick came up.

  • http://Yahoo.com Edward

    He is back

  • http://Yahoo.com Edward

    Yes they are dbreezy

  • Iceman

    LB is a great bench player who got overpaid because of what could be. A lot of teams get blinded by the possibilities and not the reality of the situation at hand. LB is a very good backup who is an average to below average defender but is a very reliable offensive player. Just because he couldn’t lock down Dwayne Wade doesn’t make him Adam Morrison on defense. Yes LB makes a few bonehead moves here and there, but he does a very good job staying in front of his man when he focuses on that.

  • Scott

    @Iceman -

    To the best of my recollection, there really wasn’t a defensive coach for the Suns the whole time that Amare and Leandro were with the team.

    If someone like Turner had been with the Suns, maybe those two players would have developed a little differently.

  • Herb Posner

    I think that Leandro Barbosa wants that Suns jersey. He is not expensive and likes Phoenix. His defense may need some tweeking, but he has a hell of an offense. Just remember the old days with Mike Dantoni and the high speed offense. We want LB back. You won’t regret the purchase.