Leandro Barbosa considering leaving NBA for Brazil

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For all his speed and promise, Leandro Barbosa has never been able to find comfortable footing in the NBA.

And now the current Raptor is thinking about leaving the NBA behind and returning to play in his native Brazil, where he is a legend. Barbosa has a $7.6 million player option for next season with the Raptors but may turn it down, according to Michael Grange at the Globe and Mail.

According to his brother Arturo, the shooting guard is receiving feelers from some top club teams at home who want to bring back the top Brazilian player of his generation.

“The situation is this: it would not be responsible of me as his brother to not consider the Brazil option,” said Arturo Barbosa. “Leandro loves Toronto he loves the fans and the relationships with everybody, but business is business. An athlete’s career is short and there are a lot of sponsorship opportunities [in Brazil] especially with the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.”

The leading candidate for Barbosa’s services, apparently, is Flamengo, Brazilian basketball champions in 2008 and 2009 who play in Rio de Janeiro. The club’s soccer side recently brought soccer star Ronaldinho back to the fold to finish his career after his run in Europe.

Toronto pays a lot of money to guys that aren’t that good, Barbosa leaving would be a boost to rebuilding this roster. Next season’s highest paid Raptor will be Jose Calderon ($9.8 million) followed by Andrea Bargnani ($9.3 million). Barbosa would be third highest. Without Barbosa the Raptors would only have about $40 million committed for next season.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.