Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 10
The Warriors made Barbosa's signing official:
At 31, Leandro Barbosa may not be the player he once was, but the Golden State Warriors saw a value in bringing him off the bench and adding depth to the squad this season.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein first reported the details and added another team that was in pursuit of the 2-guard:
Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa has reached an agreement to sign with the Golden State Warriors for the upcoming season, ESPN.com has learned.
With the Miami Heat also in pursuit, Golden State has secured a commitment from Barbosa on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, according to NBA front-office sources.
Asked about his free-agency status recently, Barbosa had a simple response, via Stein: "Man, I'm just really focused on this World Cup." He's currently playing with the Brazilian national team in the FIBA World Cup, taking place in Spain.
After being a major contributor for the Phoenix Suns from 2003 to 2010, during which he was named the 2006-07 Sixth Man of the Year and averaged double-digit points per game in four different seasons, Barbosa has bounced around the league.
Since 2010, he has played for the Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics and even Esporte Clube Pinheiros of Brazil in 2013 before returning to the Suns in January last year.
The Brazilian Blur averaged 15.9 points and 3.1 assists in eight games while with Esporte. While he only appeared in 20 games for the Suns, he averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 18.4 minutes per game.
Still, many folks have fine memories of his early days with Phoenix, including Mike Wise of The Washington Post:
Remember Diaw and Barbosa on that Suns team with Nash and Amare? That's one of the greatest teams to never win a title.— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) May 28, 2014
While Barbosa is past his prime at this stage in his career, he still can provide an injection of scoring off the bench in limited minutes. Additionally, he offers the Warriors another guard comfortable handling the rock in the backcourt, along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush.
Barbosa is an experienced player who has generally been popular with his teammates, coaches and fans alike in the past. In 2012, longtime Sports Illustrated journalist Jack McCallum talked to Justin Barrasso of WEEI.com about how beloved Barbosa was in his Suns days:
There was nobody who didn’t like LB. LB was loved. He had a kind of innocence about him, and a real work ethic with the way he approached everything. He looked at himself as kind of an open book whereas a lot of guys who come into the NBA—guys without LB’s ability or talent—think they know everything, but LB was never like that.
So no, his signing isn't one of the sexier news pieces in the NBA's free-agency period. Still, Barbosa could end up being an important contributor, and perhaps quite the popular teammate, too.
A career 39 percent three-point shooter and 46 percent shooter from the field, Barbosa has always had the stroke to be a reliable scorer. His efficiency will provide a boost offensively whenever he's on the court.