For Leandro Barbosa, signing with the Phoenix Suns for the third time is something special as rumors are swirling that he plans to end his career where he started it.
The 33-year-old Brazilian Blur agreed to a two-year $8 million deal with the Suns and for Barbosa, it’s not about the money. For him, it’s about giving back to the team that opened the doors to his career back in 2003. Barbosa was originally picked by the San Antonio Spurs but was traded for future first round picks to the Suns.
Barbosa was, in fact, a member of the talented 2007-2008 Suns roster that went on to play in the Western Conference finals. Barbosa was then with Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Amar’e Stoudemire, Shaquille O’Neal, and Steve Nash. It was the “Golden era” for the Suns as many thought they would advance to the NBA Finals. Barbosa would be named as the Sixth Man awardee that year but the Suns failed to advance to the Finals and soon the roster would be dismantled.
It was also the time that Barbosa would learn a lot from a good teammate in Raja Bell. Barbosa noted that he learned a lot from Bell and would want to “pay it forward,” as he honors his teammate by wearing Bell’s no. 19 for next season. Barbosa added that he wants to pass on what he has learned from Bell to the young roster of the Suns.
“Phoenix will always be my home, everything started here. Played eight years here, there are so many new faces but I am happy to be back,” Barbosa said during a press conference that officially announced his return with the Suns.
For Suns general manager Ryan McDonough having Barbosa back is good news as he could contribute greatly to the team that is in a rebuilding process. He knows that Barbosa is popular with the players and the fans and hopes that players could learn from him in the course of the season.
“Leandro has played a significant role in a number of very successful teams over the course of his career. We think he will contribute greatly to what we are building — on and off of the court — here in Phoenix,” McDonough added.
Aside from playing for the Suns, Barbosa also lived a life of a journeyman as he also had playing stints with the Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacer, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, and earned a championship ring with the Golden State Warriors.
Barbosa is hoped to bring leadership for the Suns, which want to relive their 2007-2008 franchise run. With a young and talented roster, the Suns hope to make an impact in the league with Barbosa in it.
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