Raps deal Barbosa to Pacers

Bulls' Derrick Rose shoots on Raptors' Leandro Barbosa in Chicago. Barbosa was dealt to Indiana...

Bulls' Derrick Rose shoots on Raptors' Leandro Barbosa in Chicago. Barbosa was dealt to Indiana March 15, 2012. (Reuters files)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:17 PM ET

MEMPHIS - Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors stuck to the script on NBA trade deadline day.

No mortgaging the future in search of a playoff run, just more pieces added to the rebuild as guard Leandro Barbosa was dealt to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday in exchange for a second-round pick and cash.

It was a move a while in the making — teams had been calling Colangelo about the former sixth man of the year, a free agent at season’s end, for some time.

The team was hoping for a first-round pick in exchange, but with no commitment from the Brazilian beyond this year, teams were not lining up to surrender that kind of a return — especially since the 2012 draft is considered to be the deepest in a decade due to elite freshmen and a number of players who stuck around due to lockout fears.

Toronto owns its own pick — which should be better now that the talented Barbosa is gone — a second, and now Indiana’s second, too.

“For the future it’s a great move as far as cap flexibility to give us an opportunity to get as many good players going forward,” said head coach Dwane Casey in a chat with a few media members in a Memphis hotel lobby.

“It’s difficult to let a player like Leandro go, but this trade further underscores our plan of maximizing salary cap flexibility, acquiring assets and developing our young players,” Colangelo said in a release.

Casey made a point of emphasizing what the trade does not mean.

“In no way, shape or form are we saying we’re giving up on the season. We’re still going to fight, compete, play hard till that last game is played,” Casey said.

“That’s the message that we want to send to our players and the rest of the league. This isn’t a move to wave the white flag at all.”

Barbosa, while happy in Toronto, was itching to play in meaningful games again after finding so much success in Phoenix after being drafted by Colangelo.

He was cryptic about the approaching deadline when queried about it following Wednesday’s loss in New Jersey, saying: “I don’t know, ask Bryan.”

Colangelo had said the team was pursuing moves which would add assets and/or cap flexibility, but he was also prepared to keep Barbosa all season.

Now, he got something for him and still could attempt to lure him back in the off-season, depending on how hard he goes after Barbosa’s close friend, Steve Nash.

Minus a surprising Nash signing though, with Jerryd Bayless already on board, a Barbosa return is unlikely since their skill sets duplicate in many ways.

Casey said the trade would give Bayless many more minutes to prove himself even more, while also allowing Gary Forbes to go back to his natural shooting guard position.

The trade put Toronto well below the cap with two open roster spots (since Anthony Carter finally was officially waived), but Casey said he wasn’t eager to immediately add an emergency point guard with so little practice time available to get him up to speed with the system.

“I like the guys we have, we don’t need anybody else. We have enough guys and enough flexibility,” Casey said.

The move also gives Colangelo the option of taking on more salary in a trade prior to free agency if a top player becomes available who piques his interest more than the free agents. One potential free agent target was close to being removed from the market on Thursday.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Wilson Chandler, who flirted with the Raptors last month, is close to a long-term deal with the Denver Nuggets, who peddled away Nene in a shocking deal featuring JaVale McGee, partly to open up room to bring back Chandler.

Meanwhile, Indiana has a glut of guards in George Hill, Darren Collison and Paul George, but clearly believes Barbosa will give its offence another needed jolt.

He was arguably the most popular player on the team and one of Colangelo’s best acquisitions in Toronto, having been acquired for Hedo Turkoglu.

He averaged 12.8 points per game in 100 games with the Raptors.

THE SCORE ON BARBOSA

Leandro Barbosa, the Brazilian Blur, was one of the finest reserves the Raptors have ever had. Here’s what he did in 100 games with the franchise. He led the bench in scoring 60 times:

2010-11 58 games 13.3 points per game 2.1 assists 33.8 3PT%

2011-12 42 games 12.2 points per game 1.5 assists 36.0 3PT%

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos