The Boston Celtics added another versatile piece to their backcourt personnel Wednesday by signing veteran combo guard Leandro Barbosa, according to a league source.
Barbosa will come to Boston on a veteran minimum contract. The Celtics have 17 players on their roster, including two camp invitees.
The 6-foot-3 Barbosa has averaged 12.5 points and 2.4 assists over 24.6 minutes per game in his career and averaged 8.9 points in 22 games last season with the Indiana Pacers. He’ll join a backcourt that already includes Jason Terry, Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, and Avery Bradley.
LeBron James and Chris Paul are the closest of friends, but they will be at cross purposes over the next few days. They are recruiting against each other for the services of Ray Allen.
Allen has not ruled out re-signing with the Boston Celtics, who have made him a strong monetary offer, but signs are pointing to Allen choosing between James’ Miami Heat and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers.
On Thursday, the Heat will host Allen for a visit as they try to persuade him to accept less money and perhaps a lesser role to join their bid to repeat as champions. Friday, Allen is scheduled to visit the Clippers, who have more money to offer and a clear role as the starting shooting guard.
Kevin Garnett is returning to the Boston Celtics after considering retirement, multiple sources told ESPN.com. The forward will receive a three-year, $34 million deal, the sources said.
The Celtics have one other big name heading into free agency in shooting guard Ray Allen. While he has also expressed a desire to return to Boston, sources told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the NBA champion Miami Heat have made Allen their primary offseason target.
“The decision came down to whether KG wanted to keep playing,” a source told the Boston Herald. “And once he decided that he did, it was going to be Boston. He wasn’t going to leave Doc (Rivers) and those guys and play anywhere else.”
David Falk, agent for Jeff Green, has had exploratory contract talks with “12 to 14 teams.”
“I know that (the Celtics) want Jeff to come back, from (general manager) Danny (Ainge) to the owners to Doc and to his teammates,” Falk said. “He loves Boston. We’re waiting to see what happens with KG, what happens with Ray…There are other teams that could be very, very interesting to him around the league that will also have cap room.
“We’ve picked out three or four teams, of which Boston is one, that he has a high level of interest in talking to. I would say that Boston is the incumbent, but I’ve learned in this business not to assume things. Nothing is guaranteed.”
The Spurs may consider signing Kevin Garnett this summer, according to a person within the organization.
Garnett will be an unrestricted free agent, as will Tim Duncan.
“Hopefully management can do something to bring [Garnett] back, maybe add some pieces to this team that we need to get over the top,” Paul Pierce told reporters after Boston was eliminated by the Heat on Saturday night. “If not, it’s been a tremendous run.”
Avery Bradley is likely done for the postseason due a left shoulder injury, according to a source.
The source said it’s “highly likely’’ Bradley’s left shoulder would pop out again and doing so again would put him at risk of serious structural damage.
“He’s looking at surgery in the face,’’ the source said.
Kevin Garnett scored a game-high 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked five shots, and recorded three steals in Boston’s 83-80 Game 6 elimination of the Atlanta Hawks.
Garnett opened his postgame press conference by taking aim at Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr., who had called Garnett a “dirty player”.
“First off, I want to say thank you to the owner for giving me some extra gas tonight,” Garnett said. “My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he’s talking about — X’s and O’s versus checkbooks and bottom lines.
“We’re not dirty. We’re firm, we play aggressive, but we’re not dirty. You have to understand the word ‘dirty’ in this game is very defined: Trying to hurt guys, ill intent. That’s not how we play basketball. We play very, very respectable to the opponent, to the city. I play with a lot of passion and with force. It’s the playoffs.”
Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley have more serious injuries than previously thought, but both players went through the morning shootaround Thursday and are expected to play in Game 6.
The team revealed that Pierce has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, while Bradley has a strained left rotator cuff.
Pierce suffered the MCL sprain during a shootaround before Game 4 Sunday in Boston and further aggravated it in a collision with Josh Smith that night. He looked hobbled at times in Game 5.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for Game 2 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Atlanta Hawks for making contact with a game official.
Rondo chest-bumped referee Marc Davis with 41 seconds remaining in Sunday’s 83-74 Game 1 loss at Philips Arena, earning his second technical and automatic ejection.
Rondo, who earned both technicals while vehemently protesting a foul call against teammate Brandon Bass, said after the game that the bump was unintentional, but the league apparently viewed it as otherwise.
In a way, the Celtics are searching for the next P.J. Brown, who was signed by Boston in late February 2008 and played a small but important role for the NBA champs.
Having already endured its lumps, Boston has preached patience in its search for a big man. The team is eager to see who lands on the buyout scrapheap.
The first viable option may be Ronny Turiaf, who was waived by Denver after being received as part of the three-way deal involving JaVale McGee, Nene and Nick Young between the Nuggets, Clippers and Wizards.