Heading to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the goals can be found on different ends of the spectrum for each player participating in the event.
For team USA, the trip will be considered an utter failure if they don’t take home the championship for the second straight time, despite losing Paul George to injury and Kevin Durant withdrawing his name from the squad.But for some players, it’s a matter of getting your name out there for the possibility of signing with a team before the 2014-15 season gets underway.
There are very few occasions where a free agent that carries so much baggage can garner interest from around the league. However, proving that he can still put up respectable numbers on the floor at a prominent tournament like the FIBA championships can turn heads, especially if you’re a former sixth man of the year recipient,
Leandro Barbosa, 31, has spent this summer unemployed since his contract expired with the Phoenix Suns last season. Now, he hopes that a team like the Chicago Bulls, who are rumored to have interest in the Brazilian native, are willing to take a chance on him for another run at an NBA title.
According to Gustavo Faldon of ESPN Brazil, head coach Tom Thibodeau took the opportunity to sit down with Barbosa during team USA’s friendly with Brazil last Saturday at the United Center, who finished the game with 13 points, four assists and two steals.
Also according to the calculation of ESPN.com.br , Brazilian entrepreneurs, Jeff Schwartz and Sam Goldfeder, had a meeting with Tim Thibodeau, coach of the team in Chicago on Monday.Thibodeau’s assistant in American basketball team.
The coach of the Bulls used the friendly match between Brazil and the United States, the United Center in Chicago, to talk with the Brazilian player who has struggled with injury and appeared in just 20 games last season for the Phoenix Suns.
If you’re a veteran free agent this offseason, there’s a good chance that your name is linked to the Bulls in some shape or form.
During the prime of his career, Barbosa was averaging 14-18 points a night while coming off the bench for the Suns back in the mid-to-late 2000s. Part of the seven seconds or less offense that was headlined by Steve Nash and head coach Mike D’Antoni, Barbosa finished his eight-year tenure down in the desert by averaging 12.4 points, 2.6 assists and .9 steals in 24.8 minutes per game.
If it wasn’t for the torn ACL Barbosa suffered back in early 2013 with the Boston Celtics that put him out of action for close to a year, I would say that his veteran presence at the guard position would be a low risk, yet high reward for the Bulls, but we’ve seen how players are affected by a major injury like an ACL tear (aka Derrick Rose).
Also when was the last time that Barbosa played sound defense while donning a Suns jersey? I seem to remember that every team that D’Antoni coaches is more worried about chucking up the basketball to finish the game in the triple-digits rather than putting their hands up in the paint on the other side of the court.
Barbosa certainly has the capability of learning a new system with a Bulls team that preaches tough defense for all four quarters, but considering that Barbosa spent a better half of his 11-year career learning offense first and defense second makes it easier said than done.
The one thing that would make the Bulls signing Barbosa justifiable is if he becomes a mentor on-and-off the court for Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler, both of whom in which have less than four years of experience at the professional level.
It’s clear that Butler and Snell are poised to be the shooting guards of the future for the Bulls and having someone who would be willing to take both under his wing who can also help them improve on their shooting from beyond the arc and field goal percentage would further their careers to potential stardom.