Breaking Down Barbosa To The Pacers

Quick hits on the Raptors move to send Leandro Barbosa  to the Pacers for a second-round pick and cash.

– I’ve seen fans online questioning the haul (to put it mildly), but here’s what armchair GM’s need to consider:

a) The value of first-round picks in what’s believed to be a very strong draft seems very high. Look at the salary the Cavs had to take on just to get a low first-round pick to confirm that.

b) Barbosa, who’s an expiring deal, could be nothing more than a playoff run-rental for the Pacers. If the Pacers gave up their first-rounder in this year’s draft for a reserve player that may be there for only a month or two it should be Pacers fans going ballistic.

c) You (or I) aren’t privy to know whether or not Barbosa was willing to re-sign with the Raptors or even if he wanted to move on to a playoff team. If he wasn’t, would fans be as upset knowing the Raptors got something for nothing?

– Debate the haul, but you can’t argue with the Raptors’ motivation behind this deal. With the Pacers under the salary cap, they absorb the entirety of Barbosa’s deal, which maintains the salary cap flexibility Bryan Colangelo has long coveted heading into this summer. The second-round pick, currently projected to be in the low-50’s, is gravy and a small asset for Colangelo to use in June.

UPDATE: As Eric Smith explains extremely well over at, one major plus with this deal is that it gives Colangelo even more salary cap room to work with prior to the free agency period that opens on July 1st. That means that the Raptors can trade with a non-playoff team for a potential long-term piece  and absorb that player’s salary with their cap space during the NBA’s post-season.  Colangelo makes very specific mention of this possibility in his  post-trade scrum at the top of this page.

– In the short-term this deal also opens things up for Jerryd Bayless, who’s performed admirably as a fill-in at starting PG for the injured Jose Calderon, but has long seemed better suited to the role that Barbosa occupied. With the future of Bayless in the air after this season, he now gets a long look with steady minutes before the offseason. Gary Forbes, could also be the beneficiary of more minutes off the ball.

– This is very much a deal for the future, but questions now remain for the remainder of season. With 13 players on the roster, the Raptors now have two roster spots available and a fairly thin backcourt rotation. Do they take a flier on anyone?

– For the Pacers, this is a low-risk, but fascinating move. It adds to a  full house at their guard spots, but Barbosa adds some much-needed veteran scoring punch to their young lineup as Indiana prepares for the playoffs.

– Finally, a note on Barbosa the person — one of the classiest, humble and purely talented players I’ve worked with in my time here. He also provided one of my all-time favourite off-court Raptors moments below. Best of luck to him in the post-season with the Pacers.

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