One of the good things about having a deep and talented roster: Any veteran willing to sign a minimum deal probably cares more about winning than playing time.
Leandro Barbosa understands that when everybody’s healthy, he’s probably fifth in the Celtics guard rotation. For someone who has averaged double digit points in six of the past seven seasons (including 11.1 last year and 18.1 in 2006-07), the prospect of such limited playing time could be a hindrance. But Barbosa knows what he signed up for. I assume he’d like as much playing time as possible, but he says he just wants to win. (Boston Herald)
“We’ve been talking to him, but obviously he’s been out there probably waiting for a bigger deal or whatever,” said coach Doc Rivers before last night’s 88-79 preseason finale loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Garden. “One thing I will give him credit for (is) I think he had us zeroed in on his radar, and he understood all the players in front of him, and he didn’t care. He kept saying that, which is refreshing. You know, ‘I understand that I may not play or I may play, but I’m going to be on a team that, if I can play, I want to help.’
“I was very honest with him. You know, there’s a chance with the numbers . . . and he said, ‘I’m not here to ruffle any feathers. I just want to be on a team that wins, and hopefully I can help.’”
“That will be on Doc’s call,” said Barbosa, a Brazil native who was unable to play last night because of visa issues. “I think he’s the coach; he knows what he has to do. I’m here to help. They’re all good players. You know, I’m here just to help, and as soon as I get my chance to go on the court, I’m just going to try to do my best to succeed and help the team. It’s an experienced team, so I’m still young.
“I’m here to learn, too. So whatever happens happens. I just want to help. It’s a great team. To be here and play with (Kevin) Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo — all those kind of guys — is great. I’m very happy.”
Winning fosters a winning mentality. Somebody worried about his stats would never sacrifice money and opportunity for playing time to play in Boston. But Barbosa has mostly played for winners during his NBA career, and he wants to continue to do so.
Another reason for Celtics fans to like Barbosa: He resisted interest from the Los Angeles Lakers.