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Celtics Sign Leandro Barbosa

The early preseason cuts of Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith signaled that something else was likely up Danny Ainge’s sleeve when it came to filling his roster for the upcoming regular season. That suspicion was confirmed very quickly this afternoon, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, reported that the Celtics have come to terms with the 29-year-old Leandro Barbosa, a free agent guard who split time last season between the Raptors and Pacers. The deal reportedly is for one-year at the veteran’s minimum, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

The move does not give the C’s an answer at the backup natural point guard position it may have desired, but it does do something that is perhaps even more important: additional instant offense off the bench. While Christmas and Smith failed to show much offensive help during training camp and the team’s early postseason contests, Barbosa has a track record of being able to just that off the bench throughout his nine-year NBA career. He may not be as much as a threat as he was during his Suns days with Steve Nash, but the possibilities of him running the floor with either Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry and/or Avery Bradley are fun to think about.

For a team desperate to improve their offensive output and efficiency, Barbosa is a volume shooter who can attack the rim and shoot from the outside (39.3 career shooter from downtown). His 16.6 field goal attempts per 36 minutes would have been tops for the C’s roster last year as well. With Avery Bradley sidelined until December, Doc Rivers will surely give Barbosa a shot right out of the gate to be paired with Jason Terry in the second unit’s backcourt and provide a scoring punch (despite being defensively vulnerable).

For a veteran’s minimum, there are no real notable downsides to this deal. Between Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Barbosa and Avery Bradley, the Celtics are well-protected against injury woes and won’t have to lean too heavily on Rondo to create offense for 40+ minutes a night with a guy like Barbosa who thrives on high usage and creating with the ball in his hands as a sparkplug for a second unit.

Barbosa has his weaknesses, a horrendous shooting slump during last year’s postseason for the Pacers that helped sink their chances against the Heat being one of them. He won’t do much for you on the defensive end and his shooting percentages had been on the decline in recent years, before a bounce back year during the regular season in both Toronto and Indiana. However, with Lee and Bradley available, Doc should be able to mix and match his lineups when he needs a more defensive mentality from his team’s bench and reel in Barbosa if he isn’t producing.

The fact of the matter is, for the past three-plus seasons, offense not defense has been this team’s major issue, especially during the postseason. When points become tougher to produce, the C’s have been limited and over reliant on their starters for production deep into games. There have been a number of additions to help in this department for next year, but Barbosa should be able to fit the bill in that department just as well as any of the new additions, after coming off a extremely impressive Olympics for Brazil this summer where he averaged 16.2 points per game.

For no real money and no major risk, it’s hard to argue against this kind of signing. Now it’s on Doc to find the best lineups to use with his  embarrassment of riches in the backcourt.

  • CG12

    Barbosa is a nice player, but I'm not seeing the overall plan here. He is a speed guy and a scorer much more than a play maker. The Cs have a lot of guards who will expect minutes, and at this point they can't all realistically expect to get them. So who loses out? Is Barbosa content to serve as insurance in the event of an injury? Bradley has a great future with the team, and they paid a lot of money for JET and Courtney Lee. If they wanted to get a true point – an Andre Miller/Brevin Knight type – I would have understood that, but this just feels like fantasy basketball. The one thing that would save this move for me is if it presaged an actual move towards playing at a very fast pace. Doc has always talked about wanting to push the ball, but this team has never done it. Maybe now they think they have the personnel to do it. We shall see.

  • The Cardinal

    In the absence of a really affordable veteran point guard, this move is brilliant. Barbosa is a scorer who also plays tenacious defense and even when Bradley returns, I'm certain he will be part of a top notch 4 guard rotation that will pressure the ball more than we've ever seen.

    I hated this guy as an opponent because of his talent, speed, quickness and intensity, and I'm loving that he's now a Celtic. This move is neck-'n-neck with the Courtney Lee signing IMHO.

    • CelticsBIG3

      I disagree about tenacious defender. This guy was a Phoenix Sun for years in a Mike D'Antoni system that preaches NO defense, hence the reason those good Sun teams never got anywhere in the Playoffs.

  • tomrod10

    It's amazing how the celtics keep signing the best role guys out there.
    However I don't really like this move. The Celtics really lack a backup point guard, and that could be a problem down the line. Besides we are filling the roster with too many questionable players on the defensive end.
    I was just hoping for a solid backup for Rondo for the 10-12 minutes a night he needs to sit to be in perfect shape for the playoffs (Terry will have trouble handling that duty), but Ainge is always risky/smart, and Barbosa does bring that extra scoring punch off the bench.

    • Renzo

      Dooling wasn't exactly a pure point guard.
      Barbosa can be a better option this season than Dooling was.
      Doc also can suit him in different roles.
      Good move for the Celtics. He´s the last piece they were needing is their new, great bench.

  • High Rollers

    Cool beans. Barbosa is a spark plug.

  • High Rollers

    Sorry, Robb. Didn’t know you’d already called him a spark plug.

  • -JP

    Hated playing against him in the past, he can be valuable in some situations where the offense gets stagnant, similar to JET. I think its a good signing because you can never have enough depth of quality players. Will JET, Lee, Bradley, and Rondo all play 82 games? No, one or two may and that would be very lucky. Adding depth like this allows Doc to go small too, which we have seen in the past. Maybe a Rondo, Lee, Barbosa, Green, Sullinger lineup to score some quick points. Its clear the team is building around Rondo more than anything else, and giving him players who will run with him will only help him be a better player, especially signing quick, intelligent basketball players like Barbosa.

  • cjkasino

    Who in their right mind can have a problem with this signing??.come on now who says that have to have a “true pg” to back up rondo?…last time i checked there aren’t many teams with one we have one and a great one at that rr…and then we have jet who can handle the rock…c lee…now barbosa…pp can even handle the rock and control the o remember when RONDO was hurt amd pp averaged like 7-9assists per game?…and we will have ab back by dec. So stop worrying guys we’re good …ppl stressing over NOTHING…GO C’S

  • right_for_the_moment

    Do the Celtics still have the BAE??

    • dslack


  • howardavellino

    I'm not a big fan of Barbosa's, but it's low-risk. If he doesn't play defense, Doc won't play him. Doc might not play him much in any case.

    I'm just shocked that Barbosa is only 29. Seems like he's been around forever.

    • smalltownID

      Word Howard, 29?? No Way!

  • Nate

    Danny is a genius
    Love this signing
    Jet can handle the rock for 10-12 minutes a night
    Solid offseason for the cs

  • NZNICK33

    So, we've gone from a backcourt rotation of Rondo, Allen (and his gimpy ankles), Bradley (and his dislocated shoulders), and some awkward combination of Pietrus, Pavlovic and Moore to Rondo, Bradley, Terry, Lee and Barbosa. WOW!!!

    Throw in Green, Wilcox, Sullinger and DAHKO and that's some deeeeeeeep depth!

    • Renzo


  • Jamie

    People are way too worked up about a "backup" PG. Jason Terry before he became a great 6th man in Dallas was a starting PG in Atlanta. Bradley can play some point too and Barbosa is not a horrible ball handler, but he's just not a facilitator.

    But you don't need a true backup point. Pierce plays point forward a ton when Rondo is on the bench so actually you would need to sub in a good spot up shooter in Rondo's spot if Pierce is the primary ball handler, hence Jet or Barbosa.

  • CG12

    I have given Danny a lot of the benefit of the doubt over the last few years, trusting that he and the C's brain trust know what they are doing, and that trust has been warranted. And picking up Barbosa is obviously not a bad move. I just wonder about it, from a chemistry standpoint. Barbosa likes to work off the bounce and is not particularly strong at setting up others. The C's have some real firepower on their second team now with JET, Green, Lee/Bradley, and perhaps Sullinger (or Bass?), and the understanding was that management wanted a game manager-type to help them work together, and especially to allow JET to work off the ball.

    I love the idea of Sullinger and Darko pulling down boards, or inbounding the ball after a make by the other team, and pushing it hard up the wings to JET or Barbosa, with Bradley/Lee/Green etc. running hard to fill the lane. The C's have the personnel to play a dynamic up-tempo game with the second team, and I hope hope hope that they will actually do it this year, rather than just talking about it, as has happened so often in years past.

    PP is a great point forward because he has an effective pace to his game and is a wonderful passer. Those are key PG qualities, and not really Barbosa's forte. Barbosa has a number of really strong attributes, but they don't align with a "run the team" PG, for better or worse. My thoughts (not really concerns) are mostly about whether Barbosa is being brought in primarily as depth, in the event of an injury, or whether there is some planned role for him in the regular rotation. In any event, he is a fine player, just not what I was expecting. If you had asked me how old he is, I'd have guessed something like 34, rather than 29.

  • elroz

    Anything to get the ball-handling out of Jason Terry's duties and have Jet do what he does best – score, penetrate, shoot, score. Of course JT can handle the ball, but it hurts his offensive availability.

  • dasein

    Sheesh…some of you guys. If a Victoria's Secret model shows up at your door asking you to give her one, you'd berate her for not bringing lunch.

  • Kobe goes for 6

    Barbosa is suck and whole celtics organization does too

    • CelticsBIG3

      I continue to be amazed by your wonderful grammar. What the hell is "Barbosa is suck"?

    • blord1970

      Sooooooo…….will Kobe get # 6 now ?

  • KBA

    Guard overload. I don't mind Barbosa as a player but now we have 4 sg's. I would have rather kept Pietrus for his defense to give us a different look. Barbosa has a significant skill overlap with JET LEE 😉
    No complains though, solid offseason overall and a lot of depth everywhere. Now only if they could re-learn how to play DEFENSE!!

    • Vic

      Pietrus didn't want to re-sign for the vet minimum, which Barbosa did.

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