Barbosa heads back to Brazil

Toronto Raptors forward Leandro Barbosa intercepts a pass against the Indiana Pacers during the...

Toronto Raptors forward Leandro Barbosa intercepts a pass against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:46 PM ET

TORONTO - The Raptors have lost another player, but this one will come back if the NBA season gets played.

Guard Leandro Barbosa has signed with Brazilian club Flamengo.

Barbosa’s deal has an NBA out that will be activated whenever the lockout ends.

Swingman Sonny Weems has already signed to play in Lithuania for the entire season, with no lockout provision.

"I'm delighted to play in Brazil after so much time, 'cause Brazilian basketball improved a lot in recent years," Barbosa said.

"I had proposals from China, Turkey and other countries. But I was sure I'd be happy here."

Barbosa had considered opting out the final year of his contract with the Raptors to sign a longer deal in his native country, but was not able to find anything close to the $7.6 million U.S. guaranteed the Raptors still owe him for 2011-12.

Barbosa has still not had surgery on the injured wrist that limited his production in 2010-11 and will not play for Brazil at the FIBA Americas tournament later this month, a decision that apparently has met with some derision in Brazil.

The country last made the Olympics in 1996 and will already be without NBAers Nene and Anderson Varejao.

Barbosa's absence is good news for Canada, which is in the same group as Brazil. The top two teams automatically qualify for the Olympics, while squads finishing 3-5 advance to a last-chance qualifier next year.


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