Hornacek: Phoenix Suns decided to give Leandro Barbosa a shot
Leandro Barbosa last wore a Phoenix Suns uniform in Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals. He scored 7 points on 3-of-9 shooting while dishing out two assists.
It was a quiet finish to what had been a pretty stellar run with the team, as the Suns shipped him to Toronto in the offseason in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu.
That trade didn’t work out so well for either party, as Barbosa has struggled to regain the form that made him the NBA’s Sixth Man of Year in 2007 and Turkoglu was shipped out of town the following December. A torn left ACL last season while a member of the Boston Celtics ended Barbosa’s season in February, and he’s been looking to get back in the NBA ever since.
He has done so, signing a 10-day contract with the Suns who are looking for insurance with guard Eric Bledsoe sidelined with a knee injury.
“Just a case that we knew Eric would be out this week and we’d have these five games in seven nights,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek told Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “Leandro is a guy that would fit into our system.”
In seven years with the Suns, Barbosa averaged 12.6 points, 2.6 assists and 1 steal per game. Mostly a reserve who played starter’s minutes, he was a key cog in the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns and was part of three Western Conference Finals teams as well as a couple other deep playoff runs.
Of course, that was years ago, and no doubt the player who was known as “The Blur” is not quite the same guy today.
But, Hornacek noted that Barbosa was with the Celtics at the same time as GM Ryan McDonough, so the Suns have a pretty good idea of what they are getting.
“Everybody is familiar with the way he plays,” he said. “He had the knee surgery, the ACL, last year, and he’s been playing in Brazil and doing well.”
The coach added that when thinking of what to do with Bledsoe out, Barbosa’s name came up as a possible addition, and the organization decided to give it a shot.
“Bring him in for 10 days, see how his conditioning is, see how his knee is responding and how his quickness and all that is,” Hornacek said. “So we thought it might be a good try.”
Since last playing for the Suns, Barbosa has spent time with the Raptors, Celtics and Indiana Pacers. He’s a career .460 shooter, including .391 from three-point range.