Indiana Finds Backcourt Depth They Needed
The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors have agreed to a trade that will send Leandro Barbosa to Indianapolis according Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears via Twitter, and it’s a move that actually solves two problems for the upstart Pacers.
For starters, it gets them some help in the backcourt. As good as Paul George has been, there really hasn’t been a respectable backup in that role all season long. George Hill, acquired from San Antonio back in June, has missed almost half of the team’s games, and both he and Barbosa can pick up minutes at either guard position when the need calls.
Barbosa, who was acquired for the low, low price of just a second round pick, has played in all but one of Toronto’s 43 games thus far and is averaging 12.2 ppg in 22.5 minutes a night. That considerable scoring punch should help keep Indy in the thick of the fight for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, not that they weren’t already doing a reasonable job of that before the trade, anyway.
The other problem it solves was Indy’s salary cap situation. The Pacers were $14 million below the cap, meaning they were going to have to spend at least a few million bucks to hit the threshold for the minimum team salary, which is 80% of the $58 million cap. Barbosa and his $7.6 contract get them there pretty easily, while reserving big picture cap space since that deal expires at the end of the season.
Toronto, who likely would have let Barbosa go this summer either way, gets a draft pick out of the deal.
Keep up with our Trade Deadline Diary, which will be constantly updated as we roll through the final few hours of trade eligibility. Stay tuned. There’s plenty more drama to come.