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Celtics add Leandro Barbosa to backcourt mix

10.17.12 at 5:04 pm ET
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It was only a matter of time before the Celtics made a move for a veteran guard and in Leandro Barbosa they landed the best of a thin lot. To be sure, Barbosa has fallen off from his peak seasons with the Suns when he averaged around 20 points per 36 minutes and registered a PER of 19.4 in 2009 with a True Shooting percentage of .588.

The last two years have not been as kind, however. He was limited by a wrist injury in 2009-10 and then traded to Toronto, where he had more injury problems that affected his shooting, as well as his overall game. Barbosa was then traded again, this time at the deadline to the Pacers, where he saw action in 22 games and struggled in the playoffs, particularly against the Heat.

Barbosa did open some eyes with a strong performance during the Olympics when he averaged 16 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point range for Brazil, and while his days as a change-of-pace sixth man may very well be behind him, he’ll be joining a Celtics team that simply needs backcourt depth.

Barbosa isn’t a true point, but he can handle the backup job behind Rajon Rondo. He’s not the scorer that Jason Terry is, but he can create his own shot. He’s not nearly the defender that Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley are, but unlike Bradley, he’s ready to start the season.

As a fourth or fifth guard he’s more ready than Jamar Smith, who was waived on Tuesday to make room along with Dionte Christmas, and in keeping with the other offseason moves engineered by team president Danny Ainge he offers versatility and some scoring punch.

With Barbosa on board for the veteran minimum, the Celtics have 14 players on guaranteed contracts. Second-round pick Kris Joseph is the likely candidate for the final spot and they will just barely fit under the hard tax line imposed by luxury tax apron. In other words, this is likely Ainge’s final piece to the 2012-13 puzzle.

Barbosa’s not a game-changer, but the Celtics are a little better than they were at the start of the week and a lot deeper in the backcourt.

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