Former Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa is coming home. The 2007 Sixth Man of the Year will join the Suns on a 10-day contract if he passes a physical exam, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
Barbosa should be able to join the Suns for a Tuesday game against the Chicago Bulls.
After tearing his ACL in February, Barbosa was included in a trade by the Boston Celtics that helped them acquire guard Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards. Barbosa has been playing in Brazil and appears to be recovered from the ACL tear.
@paulcoro 20pts, 3reb, 3assist in 8 games with Pinheiros, Brazilian team in NBB (Brazilian League). He was very well here!
— Fábio Balassiano (@balanacesta) January 5, 2014
Clearly, the signing has everything to do with injured point guard Eric Bledsoe, who is out at least a week with a knee sprain. It’s not obvious where Barbosa fits in considering third-string point guard Ish Smith has looked quite capable of keeping the Suns afloat when Dragic is on the bench. Even with Bledsoe healthy, rookie Archie Goodwin was playing well enough to earn minutes here and there, although it could be argued that Goodwin’s shortcomings have been masked while playing with the starting unit.
Neither Goodwin nor Smith can provide the offensive punch of Barbosa, who at full strength could easily be imagined as filling in for Bledsoe alongside Dragic — they were both part of the bench unit from 2008-10. Barbosa, after all, was known as the Brazilian Blur who for years led an up-tempo bench unit behind Steve Nash.
Barbosa averaged 18 points and four assists per game to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2007.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is obviously familiar with Barbosa from his brief stint in Boston, but the signing is also a savvy move that could help a former member of the organization regain his footing in the NBA. Barbosa is still only 31 years old.
For the upcoming road swing, Barbosa could be utilized right away, but it’s hard to say how likely it is he sticks with Phoenix because so much depends on Bledsoe’s recovery. Bledsoe will be reevaluated in a week, the team announced on Saturday.
Monday is the first day NBA teams can sign players to 10-day deals. Teams are allowed to re-sign additions for a second 10-day deal before deciding on whether to sign them for the remainder of the season or let them walk.