NBA Rumors: Leandro Barbosa Would Be Solid Kobe Bryant Backup

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIAugust 2, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 02:  Guard J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic defends against Guard Leandro Barbosa #28 of the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Amway Center on May 2, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have yet to find a solid backup for Kobe Bryant, but that could be changing soon.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein (via Twitter), the Lakers have shown interest in 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

Barbosa spent time with the Toronto Raptors last season before being traded to the Indiana Pacers who thought he could be a vital piece to a playoff run.

Things didn't work out for the Pacers, as they lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but the Barbosa experiment wasn't a total bust.

The Brazilian shooting guard averaged 9.8 points in just under 20 minutes per game coming off the bench behind Paul George. If nothing else, he proved that he can be a viable backup in spurts.

Los Angeles went through most of the 2011-12 season without a solid backup for Bryant. Of course, it remains to be seen whether he actually needs a backup, as "The Ageless Wonder" continues to play at a high level despite, you know...getting old.

While Bryant is still one of the top shooting guards in the league, and will likely remain as such until he chooses to retire, there's no denying that he's going to need some extra time on the bench next season.

Whether it be five or 10 extra minutes riding the pine, the Lakers are going to need a guy who can come in and not make a fool of himself while Bryant is on the bench.

If the Lakers capitalize on their interest, Barbosa could be that guy.

As a nine-year veteran, Barbosa isn't going to be biting at Mike Brown's ankles for increased playing time. If he decides to sign on with the Lakers, he knows who he's going to be playing second fiddle to.

Not only that, but Barbosa has played 75 postseason games in his career. Bryant hardly comes out in the playoffs because he turns into an android during his quest for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but it would be nice for Brown to have a guy who can come in and play well when needed.

Barbosa isn't going to command a ridiculous salary either, which is great for the Lakers because they don't have much cash left to fork over. We're way late into the offseason period, and Barbosa is surely chomping at the bit waiting for any work he can get.

It's always easier for a team to convince a free agent to take a pay cut when there is a realistic chance at making a run to the NBA Finals.

Barbosa isn't going to be a game-changer for the Lakers, nor will he change the dynamic of their offense, but he's the quality backup that they need for Bryant.