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Celtics Interested in Barbosa, Fernandez

Leandro Barbosa (Image from thehoopdoctors.com)

Teams, players and fans are still eagerly waiting for a significant move to be made in regards to most anticipated free agent class in NBA history. While Dwyane Wade continues his tours in New York, Chicago and New Jersey, LeBron James is set to announce where he plans to play sometime this week. For Boston, the signing of captain Paul Pierce has headlined the off-season for Danny Ainge and co.

But, the Celtics look poised to add a player or two to their roster. Aside from the interest in Brad Miller, the Celtics are reportedly looking at Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa and Portland Trailblazers forward Rudy Fernandez.

In order to do so, the Celtics are exploring the idea of trading Rasheed Wallace’s contract. However, there’s more that meets the eye. With Pierce and coach Doc Rivers staying in Beantown, Wallace may in fact play in 2010. Wallace is coming off a forgettable 2009-2010 season after he signed a 2-year $12 million contract last off-season.

Either way both Barbosa and Fernandez could add a lot for the Green.

Leandro Barbosa

Barbosa, 27, has had success in the Suns fast tempo of play. In seven years, Barbosa averaged 13 points per game, while shooting 40% from behind the arc.

The Sao Paulo, Brazil native would give the Celtics a pure scorer off the bench at the guard position. In the past the Celtics have tried to fill that scorer role, with Nate Robinson being the latest example. Unlike Robinson and others before him, Barbosa has legitimate size and experience playing at the highest level. Even with his size, the 6’3” 190, Barbosa is one of the quickest players in the NBA.

Rudy Fernandez

The other option the Celtics are looking at, Fernandez, is more desirable.

Only 25 years old, Fernandez would bring the C’s a scorer with viable size at the two-guard position. Fernandez was the 24th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, with many people comparing the Spaniard to Manu Ginobili.

For Portland, Fernandez averaged nine points-per-game but has never had the full opportunity to play 30-plus minutes a night. Fernandez would add size for Boston and the ability to defend not only guards but even small forwards.

Both players instantly make the Celtics better than they were just weeks ago. Barbosa and Fernandez give the Celtics much needed size from the guard position and the ability to score off the bench.

Looking Ahead

The off-season has been ever-so-busy for the Celtics, even though there hasn’t been visible moves made. The Celtics added two rookies in the NBA draft, Turkish big man Semih Erden, re-signed Paul Pierce and have publicly shown interest in Miller, and now Barbosa and Fernandez.

It’s clear that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers are not standing pat and are in fact searching for moves to make sure the Celtics are in the run for a championship next season.

About Matthew Marcantonio - @M_Marcantonio

Matthew Marcantonio is the Patriots and college football editor at Sports of Boston. Marcantonio has contributed for two newspapers; the Sentinel & Enterprise (Leominster, Mass) and The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) and held internships with The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated.

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