On trade deadline day, the Toronto Raptors made two moves to bring their roster down to 13 players and neither move made a whole lot of sense from an on-the-court perspective, at least not on the surface. The following statements were released by the team.
“The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have traded guard Leandro Barbosa to the Indiana Pacers for a 2012 second-round draft pick and cash considerations.”
“The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have waived guard Anthony Carter.”
While Carter had been permitted to return home while the Raptors looked for other opportunities for him to play, Barbosa was the Raptors best performer off the bench and the subject of numerous trade rumors involving teams in need of shooting guard help.
“Leandro’s talent is obviously undeniable,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “What he was doing for our team providing a lot of scoring punch off the bench was certainly something that was intriguing to some of the teams out there that are making a run at the playoffs or are contenders.”
Barbosa has played 100 games for Toronto, averaging 12.8 points and leading the bench in scoring 60 times, but what was most impressive about this veteran was his demeanor both on and off the court. Barbosa is a genuinely upbeat and positive person who loves to play the game.
“Leandro has unique and special ability as a basketball player, but he’s an even better person away from the game.”
Also, Barbosa gave every indication that he liked playing for the Raptors and his departure via free agency was hardly a sure-thing. So why did the Raptors send this likeable, productive veteran on an expiring contract to Indiana for a second-round pick and some cash?
“I had a lot of discussion with Leandro directly,” Colangelo said. “We talked about what would be an interesting or good situation for him. We concluded that we would do it only if it made sense for both sides and I think he did have a preference to stay.
“I’m happy for him to get the opportunity to join a playoff team as he heads into free agency.”
It’s easy to see how Barbosa helps the Pacers and he probably would like another shot at a deep playoff run, but neither of these situations does much for the Raptors, as Colangelo admits.
“I viewed this as a great opportunity for Leandro to go to a playoff team, a young upstart team that really does need some scoring punch off the bench right now. It is an Eastern Conference team and that would normally not be something that I’d like to do, take care of a team like that, but this is really a positive situation, not only for Leandro but positive for us.”
As Barbosa was only ever a positive force for the Raptors, this isn’t a case of addition by subtraction, and a late second round draft pick is not normally of much value, so the positive impact must be coming a little further down the road and Colangelo spared no effort in explaining how this trade benefited his team.