NBA Rumors: Leandro Barbosa Would Fit in Perfectly on Lakers' Bench

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Leandrinho Barbosa #10 of Brazil looks on in defence in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are still searching for players to shore up their bench as they seek to put together a championship-worthy team and not just a championship-worthy starting five. 

ESPN's Marc Stein has the latest rumor on the situation, and it involves Brazilian combo-guard Leandro Barbosa

Game of the day now: Brazil v Russia. Hearing out of Brazil camp that they believe Lakers have interest in free-agent Leandro Barbosa

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2012

If the interest between Barbosa and the Lakers is mutual, then this would be great news for the team that wears purple and gold. 

More than anything else, the Lakers need help at the guard positions off the bench, preferably in the form of players who can shoot the ball for the outside. 

As a combo-guard, Barbosa can help back up both Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. He's fully capable of beating out Steve Blake, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Johnson-Odom in the rotation and earning quite a bit of playing time. 

The bench was a huge weakness for the Lakers last year, but has already gotten better this offseason with the re-signing of Jordan Hill—who improved dramatically last season—and the acquisition of Antawn Jamison. 

That said, the second unit still needs another scorer, and Barbosa can fill that role. 

Last season, while playing for the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors, The Brazilian Blur averaged 11.0 points, 1.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. He fired away from downtown quite a bit, hitting on 38.2 percent of his 2.7 attempts per contest. 

With his speed and shooting ability, Barbosa would be given the green light to fire away on the second unit, as long as one of the starting options wasn't still on the court. He'd be able to thrive and post efficient numbers while taking care of the ball, which he often treats like a prized possession. 

Other free agents are still on the board, but Barbosa is the best option left for the Lakers' backcourt.