Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Leandro Barbosa on L.A.’s Radar? Steve Nash Recruits Former Teammate
September 13, 2012 1:37 AM EST
The Los Angeles Lakers have made multiple blockbuster trades this offseason, but they still aren't done making moves.
Leandro Barbosa could be the next player to join L.A.
The free agent is in talks with multiple NBA teams, including the Lakers. The Suns and Nets also have interest in the combo guard.
There were rumors when the season ended that Barbosa would sign with the Lakers, but nothing materialized following the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. When Los Angeles brought in Jodie Meeks, it looked like the free agent would have to find another team. Now, one of the newest Lakers is lobbying for the team to acquire Barbosa.
Fabio Balassiano of UOL Esporte in Brazil spoke to Barbosa, who told him that L.A.'s starting point guard has been recruiting him.
"Among others, I'm talking with Phoenix, the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers," said Barbosa. "Steve Nash even texted me because he wants me there."
Barbosa, 29, would likely be a solid addition to an already bolstered Lakers squad. He's averaged at least 9.5 points per game every year since 2005. Last season, he averaged 11.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest.
The Brazilian star likely wouldn't be intimidated by playing in high-pressure situations in L.A. In his nine NBA seasons, he competed in the playoffs six times.
If winning is Barbosa's top priority, there's a good chance he'll end up in Los Angeles. The Lakers have become one of top contenders heading into the 2012-2013 season. After trading for Nash and Howard this summer, they may have surpassed the Oklahoma City Thunder as the top team in the West.
Barbosa made $7.6 million a year ago, though he'd have to take a pretty big pay cut to go to L.A. The most the Lakers could offer him is the mini mid-level exception, which is worth around $3 million per season.
The guard said he would accept the veteran's minimum to play for a team with a chance to win. The Suns barely missed the postseason in 2012, but they won't be a contender. Phoenix are not expected to compete with the Lakers and Clippers in the Pacific Division without Nash.
Brooklyn could also be on Barbosa's radar. The Nets are considered one of the favorites in the East, with the additions of Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, and the re-signing of Deron Williams.
The Lakers have a pretty full roster, so Barbosa would have to fight for playing time. He'd compete with Steve Blake and Meeks as the key guard off the bench.
Lakers training camp is set to open on Sept. 29, 2012.
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