After revamping the roster with Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on a much different look next season with an improved bench and backcourt. Even though the team is much improved moving forward, the Lakers’ front office may not be finished making moves before next season.
Currently, one of the best options for the Lakers in free agency is veteran guard Leandro Barbosa. With experience playing alongside Nash and the ability to be instant offense off the bench for Los Angeles, Barbosa is an ideal candidate for the Lakers as an addition to the second unit.
Former Orlando Magic guard and current NBA analyst Dennis Scott talked about Barbosa being a perfect fit for the Lakers via Jeff Miller of the OCRegister.com:
“Scott called Barbosa and Steve Nash “a perfect combination” in a reworked Lakers backcourt. Nash is more of a methodical playmaker, while Barbosa is generally a blur moving up and down the court.”
As combo guard with speed, shooting touch from outside and ability to be legitimate offense force off the bench, Barbosa would be an absolute steal for the Lakers at the veteran’s minimum. It’s uncertain whether or not the Lakers are willing to sign Barbosa for the mini mid-level with the team’s reluctance to use the exception before next season, but if they can add him to the roster with the minimum they’ll seriously consider making the move.
After reports surfaced of Jodie Meeks unwilling to sign for the minimum, the Lakers’ front office will likely look in another direction with veterans Barbosa and Kenyon Martin being the most likely candidates to become the newest members of the team.
With the Lakers already adding Jamison and re-signing Jordan Hill, Martin will probably be strictly a backup plan if the team is unable to sign Meeks or Barbosa. The Lakers also worked out Rashad McCants and Patrick Beverley recently, but there’s no indication if the team is interested in signing either one of them.
Now that Brazil has been knocked out of the 2012 Olympics by Argentina, Barbosa and his agent will kick the search for a new team into high gear by gauging the interest in his services around the NBA. Barbosa finished his Olympic campaign with 22 points in the loss to Argentina and played well as arguably one of the best players on the Brazilian squad.