Sometimes, things just make sense and everything is cool.
The Indiana Pacers need an elite distributor. Darren Collison is a friendly chap and a good point guard, but they have too many offensive weapons who get too little of the ball in their favorite spots.
That said, a backup center and a scoring guard off the bench were clearly items 2a and 2b on the Pacers’ shopping list, and with a humongous chunk of cap space to work with, they were going to acquire one or the other. Apparently, Leandro Barbosa and his 7.6 million expiring deal beat out Chris Kaman and his 14 million monstrosity.
Barbosa is hardly a perfect fit for Indiana. He is yet another guard who looks for his own shot above others, he’s posting the worst TS% of his career, and he can hardly be compared to Gary Payton on the defensive end. But what he does – create shots by the boatload – he does very well, and it’s a skill that has been lacking in Pacerland so far this season. With his deal coming off the books to end the season, this is as low-risk a move as they come, even if some may have wanted Indiana to use their cap space to swing a blockbuster trade that probably wasn’t there in the first place.
Adding Barbosa to the bench also means the Pacers can give serious thought to starting George Hill over Darren Collison – Hill has been much better lately, but unlike Collison, he can play the 2 in a pinch. Barbosa can step in there from here on out. One has to wonder if Collison will eventually be on his way out, with both himself and Hill not far from requiring a contract extension (Hill is up this summer, Collison the next), but for now, this is a good but flawed backcourt that just became less flawed for no cost at all.
As for the Raptors?
Toronto only needs three things from this season:
1. Develop youngsters;
2. Lose games;
3. Not pay a lot of money.
Barbosa, at the very least, was hurting two out of those three goals, and so he was sent away. Simple as that.
Well done, Larry Bird and Brian Colangelo. More, please.