That the Raptors could only get a second round pick (likely in the No. 50 range) and cash for veteran bench scorer / speedster / energy guy Leandro Barbosa says less about the value of the Brazilian Blur and more about the Indiana Pacers exploiting a team dealing from a weak negotiating position.
Toronto was unlikely to re-sign Barbosa once he hits unrestricted free agency after the season, so the club’s limited options ultimately came down to holding onto him for 23 remaining and, essentially, meaningless games before losing him for nothing or getting whatever asset they could in return. Not surprisingly, GM Bryan Colangelo opted for the latter, although you have to figure he would have ideally liked to come away with more than the second rounder and cash.
That being said, it’s hard to criticize the move without knowing what was available to Colangelo. While it’s curious that he would deal Barbosa within the conference for a meager return, you have to figure that he did the necessary leg work in peddling his skilled guard and expiring contract to all contenders. Credit Indy GM David Morway for exploiting his apparent lack of options and grabbing a low-cost asset who fits perfectly on the Pacers’ offence-needy second unit.
If you are a Raptors fan, the optimistic take would be that they at least got something for Barbosa and will now have three picks (one first and two seconds) in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft to work with. The move will also give Gary Forbes a bigger role and a chance to prove himself on the ball and, when Jose Calderon returns from his sprained ankle, off the ball.
The negative take is that Barbosa, on talent alone, warrants a first rounder. The history of picks around No. 50 is checkered at best and the history of Raptors’ second round picks might be even worse.
They have held on to just six of their second round draftees in their 17-year history (all others were traded before, on or after draft day). Those six players include Jimmy King (64 career NBA games played), DeeAndre Hulett (no NBA games), Remon Van De Hare (the 7’2″ Dutchman never even came to North America), Roko Ukic (85 games), Uros Slokar (20 games) and PJ Tucker (17 games).
That’s right, six draft choices, 186 career NBA games (two seasons and a bit) and just one player (Ukic) who even made a remote impact as a Raptor (not that any of them exactly came back to haunt Toronto.
In summary, the deal is what it is: getting something for Barbosa before he’s lost for nothing. So … mission accomplished?