Well, I guess they are bringing in a veteran after all.
The Boston Celtics have agreed to a one-year deal with point guard Leandro Barbosa, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network.
The Celtics decided on Tuesday to let Dionte Christmas go and there were reports they might start to look for a veteran backup for Rajon Rondo. Barbosa was the best name on the market. Barbosa is speedy point guard who most remember as Steve Nash’s backup in Phoenix for years but his game has slipped following that early promise. He started last season in Toronto but came to Indiana at the trade deadline. He averaged 8.9 points per game for the Pacers but had almost as many turnovers as assists. He shot just 39.9 percent overall (but did knock down threes consistently). In the playoffs his play dropped off as did his minutes, particularly against the Heat in the second round. He was not effective.
Barbosa is not really good anymore, there’s a reason he was still on the market. He’s a below-average backup point guard. But in limited minutes with good talent around him and a strong locker room, he could serve the Celtics’ purposes. He’d probably play as well or better than Christmas, and better than any other point guards on the market (Derek Fisher, Jonny Flynn, and it gets worse from there). That said, they can’t expect much from him. This needs to be a small role. For a lot of teams I’d question this signing, but for Boston this could work out.
When Dionte Christmas was sent packing from Celtics camp — with a nice $200,000 buyout — we were left with a question about who was going to get backup point guard minutes behind Rajon Rondo?
Maybe nobody. Jason Terry can do some ball handling with the second unit (although he works better off the ball), and when he’s back Avery Bradley can play some in that role. The Celtics used to use Eddie House as a backup point, they don’t have to get a traditional one. That said, for balance they probably still want one more traditional point guard on the bench.
Might the Celtics try to get a veteran there?
Before the Celtics game Tuesday night Doc Rivers suggested the Celtics might go after a veteran player, according to ESPNBoston.com.
Rivers said the team still plans to keep 15 players and is open to someone from the outside if a cheap veteran can help this team at any position, not just a backup ball-handler. “Maybe the Heat will cut LeBron [James] or whoever,” he said. “We’re always looking. Every team is always looking. If nothing comes, does that bother us? No. It’d be great to get another guy at any position. Obviously, at [point guard] it would help, but we can’t also forget that Avery [Bradley] is coming back too. We don’t want to overdo the point guard thing.”
The real problem here is there is not a quality point guard really hanging around out there ready to be picked up. Leandro Barbosa is probably the best free agent still out there and he may want more than the veteran minimum (and we should debate whether he is worth that). Derek Fisher is out there but he’s not really very good, especially defensively. (Plus, he’s a Lakers legend, that just seems weird.) How about Mike Bibby? Jonny Flynn? Exactly.
Maybe the Celtics make a trade, or maybe they just ride it out for a while and see if they need to make a move. But if they do, it won’t be for a rookie.
The Pistons aren’t looking for a starting point guard — Brandon Knight is the man. In fact with Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum the backcourt is pretty set. Maybe there could be some minutes to be had behind them.
Jonny Flynn is going to get a shot at some of those minutes, he has been given a contract with the Pistons, reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com. But he’s going to have to earn it — this is a non-guaranteed deal (meaning they can cut him before the season).
Flynn has never lived up to the No. 6 pick status (from 2009 draft, taken by the Timberwolves), in part due to hip surgery he had a couple years ago. Flynn worked out for a variety of teams but it is the Pistons who took a shot at him.
We’ll see if he is all the way back.