They answered that question Friday, signing Barbosa to a
five-year, $33 million contract extension that begins after the
2007-08 season. The five-year extension is the maximum allowed by
"The Suns really like me," Barbosa said at a U.S. Airways
Center news conference. "And I like being here."
After undergoing a physical, Barbosa said he had called home to
tell his family that the deal was official.
"I guess right now my mom [Ivete] has been crying on my
brother's shoulder," Barbosa said.
The Suns, who have reached the Western Conference finals each of
the last two seasons, believe the 6-foot-3, 188-pound Barbosa is a
critical part of the formula that has made them one of the NBA's
elite teams. Barbosa started only 11 games last year, but club
officials think his potential is enormous.
"Leandro Barbosa represents everything that we've built our
team on -- character, speed, 3-point shooting," Suns vice
president of basketball operations David Griffin said. "He's really the
epitome of our team's style of play."
Barbosa's speed makes him a tough matchup for opposing defenses.
But he became a more complete player last year under the tutelage
of assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, the brother of Suns head coach and
general manager Mike D'Antoni.