It appears that the signing of Leandro Barbosa is the first step toward filling some pretty big shoes for the next several weeks.
ESPN's Mark Stein reported today that Eric Bledsoe will undergo surgery to repair his knee, and will be out indefinitely.
Bledsoe injured the game against the Clippers on Dec. 30, although he returned to that game. The knee swelled up, however, keeping him out of the last four games. Now he is going to be out for much longer.
John Gambadoro is reporting that the injury is a torn meniscus.
Just heard from another reliable source it is a meniscus tear for Bledsoe that will require surgery.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) January 9, 2014
Of course, it's important to get it fixed now, and it's best to miss time while the Suns face their easiest month of games to date. After playing one of the league's toughest schedules so far, the Suns now get to see all those East teams over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the Suns front office has rightly decided that Ish Smith is not a guaranteed, shut-the-door long term answer as the third guard in a four-guard lineup (behind Goran Dragic and Gerald Green, ahead of rookie Archie Goodwin).
So, Leandro Barbosa is a smart pickup. While he doesn't know the offense - make no mistake, this is a totally different offense than the Nash days - he does know how to play with Goran Dragic and Channing Frye, three-fifths of the Suns much-loved second unit from the 2010 WCF run. All we need now is Louis Amundson to come walking (err, riding) through that door.
Barbosa may have only made one shot against the Timberwolves in his second Suns debut, but he did flash his signature speed and got to the basket almost at will. If nothing else, he provides more stability in the lineup.
But he's no Eric Bledsoe. Neither is Ish Smith. If Bledsoe is gone for the foreseeable future, the Suns will have to pull another rabbit out of that hat to stay in the playoff chase.