Warriors

Dubs haven't discussed signing Barbosa during roster pinch

Warriors
Leandro Barbosa guarding Steph Curry
USATSI

The Warriors' already thin rotation got thinner Friday, after guards Kent Bazemore and Damion Lee entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Could Golden State turn to a familiar face on its coaching staff in the pair's absence?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in January that he believes player mentor coach Leandro Barbosa could still play in the NBA if Golden State needed him this season. NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke asked about the possibility Friday, and Kerr maintained his belief Barbosa could contribute if called upon.

"No, we haven't had those discussions," Kerr said in a video conference ahead of the Warriors' game Friday against the Denver Nuggets.

"But I'm dead serious when I say he could be very effective if we ever did that. He's still in playing shape."

Lee reportedly could miss as many as 14 days, while Bazemore could miss as much as a week. Juan Toscano-Anderson will return to the Warriors' rotation Friday, but Lee and Bazemore's injuries could leave Golden State thin in the backcourt.

Mychal Mulder will start in Bazemore's place Friday, according to Kerr. Point guard Nico Mannion, a 2020 second-round draft pick, and Gary Payton II, who's on his second 10-day contract, could get a longer look. It's also possible combo guard Jordan Poole is in line for more minutes while Bazemore and Lee are out.

 
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Barbosa won a championship ring with the Warriors in 2014-15, and he also was a key role player on Golden State's 73-9 team the following season. The 38-year-old played in Brazil as recently as 2019, finding comfort in his new role. Steph Curry said in February that Barbosa helped him overcome frustrations earlier this season.

Although Kerr believes Barbosa can still play, he's not knocking on president of basketball operations and general manager Bob Myers' door demanding that the Brazilian signs a 10-day contract. When the Associated Press' Janie McCauley asked how he would react if Barbosa said he wanted to suit up, Kerr joked he would deflect to Myers.

"I would say, 'Have your agent talk to Bob, and then maybe they could work it out.' "

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