If they Lakers are seeking a trade for Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, or both, they could be pursuing Leandro Barbosa via free agency. As much as Kobe Bryant would love Derek Fisher back, Steve Nash would love to play with Barbosa again, and was even recruiting him earlier this summer.
As I detailed in an earlier article, adding Barbosa would come with a few tradeoffs. However, those tradeoffs were under the assumption that if he were to join the Lakers, he would primarily be a backup to Kobe Bryant.
In this situation, he would be asked to provide relief for Steve Nash as well as play alongside him a bit. Barbosa actually averaged a higher PER (Player Efficiency Rating) at the point guard position than he did at the shooting guard position (18.2 compared with 12) last season and also held his counterparts to a lower PER at the lead guard position (10.4 compared with 14.0).
I would assume that the Lakers would trade only one of their current backup point guards for draft picks or some sort of exception, and sign Barbosa to the veteran’s minimum (approximately $1.4 million).
In my estimation, this would be a good move as well, as Barbosa holds career averages of 12.5 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent shooting from three-point land. He may not be a prototypical point guard as he only averages 2.4 assists on his career, but he could definitely add scoring at that position.
Barbosa’s quickness would also create another dynamic for the Lakers at both the one and two positions, and although he’s not known for his defensive abilities, he would at least be able to keep up with some of the faster guards in the NBA and make them work on the defensive end.
By adding Barbosa and keeping one backup point guard, it would add versatility and a different dynamic at the point guard position to a team that already appears to be quite versatile in the two through four slots.
At the end of the day, trade rumors come and go. I think the Lakers will be fine and even have a solid variety to choose from at the point guard position. However, the fact that they traded away Derek Fisher because they didn’t want to pay three point guards $3 million-plus last season leads me to believe that if they can get one of those players off their books, they’ll do it and add another player immediately.
Additionally, Fisher and Barbosa are currently unemployed, and would likely sign for the veteran’s minimum and possibly be more useful to the Lakers.
Personally, I would love to see Fisher back in a purple and gold jersey alongside Kobe Bryant as they get ready to battle for yet another championship together–which would be the sixth for both of them.
It’s probably unlikely that it will happen, but hey, I can dream can’t I?
The Lakers are the one team in this league that can practically make magic happen (no pun intended), so maybe it’s not so far-fetched.