According to Paul Coro of azcentral.com, who travels with the team on the road, the Phoenix Suns signed Leandro Barbosa to a contract last night for the remainder of the season.
UPDATE: The Suns announced the move this morning.
"It was really heavy on my shoulders," Barbosa said to Coro. "I was worried. I can breathe. It was something I had in the back of my mind that I don't now."
This move was expected. Coach Jeff Hornacek has been talking for weeks now that the Suns need Barbosa's veteran production during their playoff push - clearly for more than 10 or 20 days.
Barbosa has spent most of his 10-year career in Phoenix. He was initially acquired in a draft-day trade with San Antonio in 2003, joining the Suns as a spry 20-year old kid out of Brazil. He still holds the franchise record for most points as a rookie first-time starter with 27 points against the Chicago Bulls on January 5, 2004.
Barbosa played for the Suns for seven seasons, and won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2007 by averaging 18 points and 4 assists off the bench as one of Mike D'Antoni's "seven starters" that season.
But Barbosa's playing time diminished after Jason Richardson was acquired at shooting guard and with the emergence of Goran Dragic. Coupled with a wrist injury, Barbosa played less than 15 minutes per game during the Suns magical run to the Conference Finals in 2010.
Seeing his future in Phoenix as bleak, Barbosa reportedly requested a trade in the 2010 offseason to a team that would give him more minutes. He was traded to Toronto for Hedo Turkoglu in July of 2010, but did not get the starters minutes he wanted there either.
A year later, he was traded to Indiana and helped Indiana advance to the second round of the playoffs as a key contributor off the bench. The next year he was in Boston, but blew out his knee in the spring of 2012.
After recovering from the serious surgery, Barbosa found himself back home in Phoenix as the oldest player on the team.
"I’m happy that I found out I’m going to stay. I’m going to pray and thank God because it was a hard time for me when I did the surgery. If I look back and see what I’ve been through, many people didn’t believe I could come back and play for the NBA again. Now, they say they want to stay with me for the rest of the year. It’s a great thing."
Per the CBA, an NBA team can only "try out" a player on a maximum of two 10-day contracts. After that, they can only sign the player for the rest of the season or let him go.
I knew the second 10-day contract was up today, but a query to Suns president Lon Babby went unanswered. Luckily, Paul Coro was on the case and got the scoop.
The Phoenix Suns will likely announce the signing in a press release today.