Prior to the NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon, the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors did some swapping. Toronto traded veteran guard Leandro Barbosa to Indiana for a second round pick in next season’s draft. The deal helps the Raptors free up some cap space and rebuild toward a youth movement in the near future. Indiana gets a solid bench player to help back up young guards, George Hill and Darren Collison.
Barbosa, in his eighth NBA Season, is also in the final year of his contract. In 2007, while with the Phoenix Suns, Barbosa earned the Sixth Man of the Year Award. The 6’3” guard, who could be used in several positions, adds depth to an already diverse Indiana bench. This season, Barbosa is averaging 12.2 points per game.
Indiana head coach, Frank Vogel, spoke about the acquisition on Thursday. “We are going to get him shots, because he is explosive on the offensive end. He is going to be a good option coming off the bench.”
The trade was good for Indiana in several ways. Not only does the team get an extra scorer with veteran leadership, but they only had to give up a second round pick to get him. One of the strengths of this year’s Indiana Pacers is their depth on the bench, and they did not have to give up any of that team depth in return for the rights to Barbosa.
Vogel also spoke about the importance of adding to the team, while still keeping the current roster intact. “We have a group of guys who all want to be here, and we plan on making some noise in this year’s playoffs.”
Indiana has a record of 25-16, and is currently fourth in the Eastern conference standings. The Pacers play back-to-back games against the New York Knicks on Friday and Saturday. Barbosa will not play with the team until at least next week.