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Grading The Deal: Pacers Deal For Barbosa

Sensing a need for additional scoring off the bench and with the cap space available to take on a player without giving one up in return, the Indiana Pacers acquired Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors.

In return, the Pacers are sending the Raptors a 2012 second-round draft pick. Leading up to the trade deadline, Indiana had two open rosters spots and approximately $14 million in cap space.

To complete the deal, Toronto received a $7.6 trade exception from the Pacers that will be valid until next year’s deadline.

Barbosa is making $7.6 million in the final year of his contract, leaving the Pacers with roughly $6.4 million in space this year.

The Pacers had been linked to Chris Kaman, but the Hornets aren’t going to take on contracts to deal the big man, who is making more than $14 million in the final year of his deal. It’s likely that Indiana made the move for Barbosa after either getting rebuffed (or deciding not to pull the trigger) on Kaman because they are now believed to be out of the race.

On the surface, Barbosa will allow Frank Vogel to do two things. They have exploded in the last two games (91 total points), but the Pacers needed to add some scoring off the bench. George Hill appears to have returned to form after a recent shoulder injury and Tyler Hansbrough is streaky. Quite frankly, Indiana lacked a third scoring with the starters resting. Lou Amundson has been red-hot as of late, but you aren’t going to run plays through him with much frequency.

Barbosa can score in bunches and his presence will also allow for the possible experiment of moving Darren Collison to the second unit in favor of Hill. Collison would be dangerous as the “backup” point guard, bringing extreme speed against either a tired starter or less-talented reserve. The Brazilian Blur would then fill Hill’s current role as the main scorer off the bench while helping them kill zone defenses. He becomes Indiana’s third or fourth best perimeter shooter behind Danny Granger, Paul George and Hill.

The deal is low risk, but didn’t fill two needs that were perhaps more pressing. The Pacers could use another point guard and a big man to create traditional offense with the second unit. Kaman would have filled the latter role perfectly, but that is neither here nor there at this point.

Barbosa is a guard and may have played the point at times in Toronto and Phoenix, but he’s really a small off-guard, as is Hill. Aside from an offensive punch (the Pacers could use one as they average 104.3 points per 100 possessions, ranked 15th in the NBA), he won’t add a completely new dynamic to the team.

Can he help you win a few games by making some big shots? Absolutely, but he’ll be a defensively liability against bigger two guards, which he’ll face often as the Pacers battle for position in the Eastern Conference.

Jose Calderon would have been a nice fit, but he is owed more than $10 million in 12-13, making him undesirable to Indiana.

Grade for the Pacers: B

I originally gave them a B- when it was reported that Anthony Carter was in the deal. 

It’s a very good sign that they were not only in position to “buy” at the deadline, but also that ownership signed off on adding salary for the stretch run. They put themselves in position to make such a move and the players have matured enough to warrant some kind of help.

Barbosa isn’t going to put Indiana in the same conversation as Miami and Chicago, but he’ll provide some short-term help without any long-term consequences.

Grade for the Raptors: A 

Toronto got someone to take Barbosa off their hands without taking back any salary at all, while getting a second-round pick in return. It’s an added bonus that they can use the reported $7.6 million trade exception to add a player with a long-term commitment via trade over the next 12 months.

 

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