Leandro Barbosa Injury Cripples Boston Celtics' Trade Hopes

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Leandro Barbosa Injury Cripples Boston Celtics' Trade Hopes
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During the Boston Celtics' 94-91 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 11, guard Leandro Barbosa suffered a non-contact knee injury (via ESPN Boston). A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England has since reported that Barbosa has suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the season.

Perhaps more devastating than the on-court repercussions is the fact that Barbosa's injury cripples the Celtics' trade hopes.

Prior to Barbosa's injury, rumors had begun to swirl that the Celtics would be involved in trade deadline activity. A major reason for this speculation were injuries sustained by two of Boston's rotational keys.

Starting point guard Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL, while rookie Jared Sullinger underwent season-ending back surgery.

For that reason, the common belief was that the Celtics would make a trade to build depth and compensate for what was lost.

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One of these men was expected to be traded. Not anymore.

Some had even speculated that Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce would be dealt, but Danny Ainge put an end to that speculation when he, more or less, said that neither was likely to be moved (via ESPN Boston).

The key to a potential trade was the fact that the Celtics possessed unparalleled depth in the backcourt. This recent string of injuries has ended that potential, however, as Boston must now rely upon its depth, not utilize it to improve its roster.

 

Barbosa As a Trade Piece

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Whether or not the Boston Celtics planned to move Leandro Barbosa by the trade deadline is unclear. What is known, however, is that Barbosa has an expiring contract that could have been used in potential trade talks.

Unfortunately, Barbosa's torn ACL makes his expiring contract significantly less attractive.

While some might expect a player with an expiring deal to see limited minutes, few teams will accept nothing in return for something. Part of Barbosa's value was his postseason experience and three-point shooting.

For his career, the Brazilian has played in 75 playoff games and is a career 39.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

With a season-ending injury, however, Barbosa is no longer a trade asset. Instead, he's a player that will leave Celtics fans wondering what could have been.

Barbosa's 2012-13 three-point shooting percentage of 38.3 could have been useful down the line.

 

Barbosa Providing Depth

Marc Stein of ESPN had previously reported that either Jason Terry or Courtney Lee could be moved by the trade deadline. This comes by virtue of the depth Barbosa and Avery Bradley provided should Boston hold on to either Terry or Lee.

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Unfortunately, Barbosa's injury has left Boston relatively thin.

A rotation that once had five players vying for backcourt spots has been cut down to three. While one could be moved in exchange for a better ball-handler or facilitator, that would leave the Celtics without their true need.

An interior scorer.

In other words, the leverage that the Celtics once possessed in trade talks has been eliminated. Barbosa's injury leaves the Celtics too thin to make a move without sacrificing one of their few remaining strengths.

The Celtics may be active at the trade deadline, nonetheless, but the outlook of their potential deals has changed dramatically.

 

Alternative Options

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Suddenly, free agency becomes an area Danny Ainge must explore.

With Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa both out for the season, the Boston Celtics have developed a need for a point guard. With Jared Sullinger injured, they also need to acquire a power forward.

So how can they get this done with their dreams of a trade neutralized?

There is no better option through free agency than the potential acquisition of former All-Star Kenyon Martin. Martin has 100 games of postseason experience under his belt and could vie for starter's minutes.

It doesn't hurt that the Celtics' players had petitioned behind closed doors to sign Martin back in November (via NESN).

At the point, the Celtics may be forced to give up one of their valued shooting guards to acquire a reliable enough talent. That would still leave Boston with Avery Bradley and either Courtney Lee or Jason Terry, though.

It's a move that might be worth their while.

Regardless of which route they take, there is no denying that Barbosa's injury has significantly altered Boston's potential trade trajectory. How they adjust is a question in its own right.

As we all know, general manager Danny Ainge tends to make magic happen with his back against the wall.

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