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Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic excited to be reunited with Leandro Barbosa

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic of Slovenia and guard Leandro Barbosa of Brazil walk down during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, May 27, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

PHOENIX -- The last time Goran Dragic and Leandro Barbosa shared the same backcourt, they were teammates during the Phoenix Suns' run to the Western Conference Finals in 2010.

The two playmakers will soon be reunited -- likely Tuesday, once Barbosa passes his physical and his 10-day contract with the Suns becomes official.

"LB is my guy," Dragic said following practice Monday. "I played with him (for) two years. I came here as a rookie (in 2008) and he helped me a lot. I'm really happy that he signed with us. I can't wait to see him."

Barbosa, who spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Suns, is expected to join the team in Chicago, the start of a season-long five-game, seven-day road trip.

Barbosa, 31, not only gives the Suns a veteran presence, but some scoring help in the absence of Eric Bledsoe, who remains sidelined because of a sprained right knee suffered December 30 against the L.A. Clippers.

Bledsoe will be re-evaluated later in the week, giving him an outside shot of returning for the final game of the trip, next Monday at New York.

"We'll see," he said. "If it's my call, I'd definitely play."

The Suns are 4-4 this year without Bledsoe. He missed six games earlier in the season due to a bruised left shin.

"Definitely frustrated," Bledsoe said. "To be out and then come back and then to be out again, it's definitely frustrating."

Enter Barbosa.

And while he hasn't played in an NBA game in almost a year -- not since he tore his left ACL in February while with the Celtics, Barbosa has been playing in the Brazilian league (NBB). In eight games, he's averaged 20.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 50 percent from three-point range.

"We know what he can do," Dragic said. "He's a great offensive player. He's great in open floor. He can play pick-and-roll. He can penetrate. He can shoot it. Hopefully we're going to find that magic that we got it in 2008 (and) 2009.

"Great guy. Great teammate. I think he's going to fit right in to this system and this team."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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