PHOENIX, Ariz. — Ask Leandro Barbosa what he missed the most about his time in the Valley, and the “Brazilian Blur” is quick with an answer.
“The weather,” he said, smiling.
And who could blame him, especially considering the weather he and his teammates dealt with during the just-completed road trip through the Midwest and East Coast.
The Suns are back, and so too is Barbosa.
Yes, it’s been a week since he rejoined the team that he began his NBA career with, but it’s been almost four years since he played with the Suns in Phoenix.
“Very happy. Very happy,” he said following shootaround Wednesday. “I don’t have too many words to say about it because I didn’t know I was coming to Phoenix. It was a surprise (to) me. Never thought about coming back to Phoenix. It’s a very happy time for me right know being with some of the guys that I played (with) so many years before at the start of my career. It’s an exciting time for me.”
Barbosa, however, may not play when the Suns host the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, the team he just so happened to play against in his last Suns game at US Airways Center — Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
Barbosa said he hurt his right shoulder when he bumped into Kenyon Martin late in the game at New York Monday.
“It’s a little sore,” he said of the shoulder that has made him a game-time decision. “I want to play, especially coming back to Phoenix. This will be my first game. I want to make sure everything will be OK.”
Barbosa scored 21 points (on 8-of-15 shooting) against the Knicks, by far his best performance of the four games he’s played.
His 10-day contract runs through Friday.
“I’m not thinking about that,” he said. “I’m just trying to be comfortable on the court…help the team and have fun.”
Given the prolonged absence of Eric Bledsoe, the Suns are likely the re-sign Barbosa to a second 10-day contract. There has also been talk of keeping the 31-year-old veteran point guard through the remainder of the season.
“It just gives us another weapon there at the spot to be able to penetrate and create for others,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Whatever his future, Barbosa, who is averaging 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 37.8 percent, plans to enjoy every minute of being back in the place he called home for the first seven seasons of his NBA career.
“Everything is brand new,” he said. “But it’s still the Suns. It’s still the purple. That’s the most important thing. For me, it’s exciting to be here right now.
“Nothing better than coming back to the Suns.”