by Gregory Dole
Toronto Raptors‘ guard Leandro Barbosa might be thinking of going back to Brazil to play in the new Brazilian basketball league instead of waiting for the NBPA and the NBA to agree to a new agreement. Barbosa has a one-year player option with the Raptors. The word on the street is that he might play for the Flamengo sports club. Here is a Brazilian link to the rumor.
The story reports that Flamengo is trying to bring a big name to its basketball club and that they have been in conversations with Leandro’s brother and adviser Artur Barbosa.
I spoke with Artur to get his take on the rumor. He confirmed that he has been in conversation with Flamengo as well as other clubs in Brazil. While the Barbosas have stated that they love Toronto, according to Artur, “it would be irresponsible to not consider the Brazilian option. We are from Brazil and we see that the Brazilian economy is booming. There is a lot of money being invested in Brazil these days.”
Artur went on to say that a few Brazilian clubs, including Flamengo, have told him that they are going to send Leandro contract proposals sometime over the next 7-10 days. Leandro returning to Brazil makes some sense within the greater context of Brazilian sport.
Several of the world’s top Brazilian soccer players have transferred from Europe to Brazil in recent months, including Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano. Flamengo’s soccer club made the biggest splash, signing Ronaldinho to a multiple-year contract this past January.