Barbosa returns to C's after attending family issue in Brazil


Barbosa returns to C's after attending family issue in Brazil

SACRAMENTO Leandro Barbosa was on the court working on his game, launching 3-pointers, floaters in the lane and a few free throws.

And this after nearly 16 hours in the air coming from Brazil where he has been for more than a week attending to a personal family matter.

The Celtics will have him availabletonight, but it's unclear if Celtics coach Doc Rivers will go to him at all.

"He has to be exhausted," Rivers said. "But if we need him, we're going to play him. But he has had a tough go. The fact that he could make it is nice. But honestly, I hope I don't have to use him. But he's ready to play."

Barbosa, bleary-eyed from what has been one of the longer days of his life, acknowledged he had no idea what he would be able to do if he's called upon to play.

"I haven't been sleeping much," said Barbosa, adding that "if they need me, I will try to do my best."

The decision to return and leave his family was not an easy one for Barbosa.

"It's time," he said when asked about returning to the C's at this point. "Given the situation is bad (with his family in Brazil), it's time. I have never been far away from my teammates that long. I just had a conversation with the family and said I had to come back. And we've been in touch as far as communication on the cell phone and however we had to. I still can help from here. Hopefully everything will be OK."

Barbosa toldCSNNE.comthat his Celtics teammates were instrumental in helping him cope with what he says has been "a very tough time for me and my family."

In addition to text from Rivers and the C's front office, Barbosa said Rajon Rondo communicated with him in addition to Jeff Green who Barbosa said reached out to him almost daily.

"It means a lot," Barbosa said about hearing from his teammates. "It's always good when somebody worries about you, especially given the situation. I was just happy to hear that they were worried about my situaiton. I appreciate the worries from them."

Added Rivers: "That's important. Listen, family first. We forget a lot that these guys out there, actually have real lives, human things that happen. When it happens, it affects you; it affects your play and it's good to have teammates ... teammates are your other family. That's important."

Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?


Patriots making contract statements with OTA absences?

Malcolm Butler was one of many not spotted during OTAs on Thursday when the media got a looksee at one of the practices.

Butler wasn’t the only one. But he did stand out as a missing player who hadn’t (to my knowledge) had a surgery but did have a contract that needs addressing. Another one? Rob Gronkowski. If we really want to extend it out, throw in Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan.

This is the point where it’s important to point out that these workouts are voluntary – VAW-LUN-TERR-EEEE! Players don’t have to be there. Additionally, I’m not even sure Butler or Gronkowski (or Ryan and Harmon) weren’t at the facility. All I know is they weren’t on the field. And, per usual, nobody’s tipping his hand as to why.

But we do have this, relative to Butler. ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote Sunday that he “wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to his contract status.” Reiss said that Butler “told teammates and friends he plans to push for an adjustment to his contract before the 2016 season, and staying off the field in voluntary workouts would be a decision that limits injury risk and also could be viewed as a statement to the organization that he's unhappy with the status quo and/or the movement/specifics of contract talks.”

In the same vein, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gronkowski opted out as well for the same reason, especially since he threw out a tweet that signaled dissatisfaction with his pact in March.

But in terms of a statement, not going to OTAs is more of a throat-clearing than a noisy proclamation.

Not to minimize the move if Butler, Gronkowski or anybody else is actually staying away because of business. The Patriots usually enjoy almost perfect OTA attendance. Also, there hasn’t been much contract strife around here for the past five seasons.

Money matters were an annual issue for the Patriots from about 2003 through 2010. Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, Ty Warren, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, Adam Vinatieri, Mike Vrabel and – quietly – Tom Brady all had their contract dances back then. But the only one that got hairy in the recent past was Wes Welker.

It’s still too soon to know if any of these will get contentious. When will we know? When either a player or his agent spouts off. Or, when someone’s a no-show at mandatory minicamp beginning June 7.

That would amount to a shot across the bow. Of all the players likely to take that shot, Butler seems a reasonable bet. His base pay this season is $600K after a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015 that saw him check the opposition’s best wideout on a weekly basis. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year. He deserves longer-term security than he currently has. Gronkowski has a lot less to kick about. He may make less than lesser players, but he also was the league’s highest paid tight end when he was missing scads of games due to injury.

After Butler, Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower would figure to have the strongest cases to want new deals and want them snappy. Ryan and Harmon would be right behind those two. Then Jabaal Sheard.

Sheard, Hightower and Collins were all on the field Thursday. 

Can the Patriots get all these guys reupped? Will they even try? How do they have them prioritized? If the guy who howls loudest gets to the front of the line, the time to make some noise is close.

But we have yet to hear any of these players loud and clear.