After finishing up his second of two 10-day contracts, Leandro Barbosa agreed to sign with the Phoenix Suns for the rest of the 2013-14 season, the team announced Tuesday.
Barbosa used nine games to showcase a speedy recovery from an ACL tear suffered last season with the Boston Celtics. Alongside fellow backup guard Ish Smith, Barbosa has averaged 8.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as part of a second unit that has become even more engrained in coach Jeff Hornacek’s rotation pattern this month.
The signing is no surprise with Eric Bledsoe sidelined. And even with Bledsoe back in the fold, it’s possible Barbosa will remain an importance piece of the puzzle.
If and when that point comes, Hornacek will be forced to decide on whether he will use a third point guard behind Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, who previously were splitting time as Ish Smith sat on the bench. Gerald Green’s big role on the Suns won’t go anywhere if he’s coming off the bench, though he could also push out Marcus Morris at small forward if Barbosa or Smith are seen as more important pieces to the rotation.
With Bledsoe or without him, Hornacek already has more options than most thought coming into the 2013-14 season.