PHOENIX — Despite spending the last four days of his 10-day contract nursing a sprained right shoulder, missing two games in the process, Leandro Barbosa was re-signed to a second 10-day contract by the Suns Saturday.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “We’ll give him another 10 days, and the plan being hopefully he continues to play well and at the end of that we sign him for the rest of the year.”
In four games, Barbosa averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 37.8 percent.
“Happy I got 10 more days,” he said.
His initial 10-day contract ended after Friday’s loss against Dallas, leaving his stay in the Valley somewhat up in the air… at least momentarily.
“I was leaving to go back to the hotel,” Barbosa said. “They called me and said, ‘Where you at?’ I said, ‘I left.’ They said, ‘Well, come back. We want to sign you 10 more days.’ I said, ‘Oh, really?’ They said, ‘Yeah.’ So, I came back real quick.”
With Eric Bledsoe out indefinitely following right knee surgery, the Suns, who prefer to play with two playmakers on the floor at the same time, were looking for backcourt depth.
Barbosa filled that void.
“He just gives us an additional shot creator,” McDonough said.
“One of the strengths of our team, I think, through the first 30 games when Eric (Bledsoe) and Goran (Dragic) played together is we always had one guy who could break down the defense and get in the paint—not only to score but to create shots for others. Since Eric has been out, we’ve lost some of that, I feel like, especially when Goran is off the floor. Leandro gives us that unique ability to break down a guy one-on-one to either shoot over the top of the defense or to get in the paint and make something happen for himself or the other guys on our team.”
Barbosa, 31, said his injured shoulder is feeling better. He went through the entire practice Saturday with a brace on the shoulder.
“It’s a little tight, so sometimes I want to follow through and I can’t follow through,” he said. “It’s uncomfortable.”
Barbosa may choose not to wear the brace when he plays because not only does it restrict his movement while shooting, but passing and defending become more difficult as well.
However, if the brace means a quicker return—he has still yet to play his first Suns game back at US Airways Center, then Barbosa will be okay with the added accessory.
“I definitely want to play (against Denver Sunday),” he said. “Running up and down (the court), I miss that.”