Leandro Barbosa's first step to get back to the NBA is a return to his native Brazil.
Sources close to Barbosa, in confirming that the veteran guard is indeed signing with Club Pinheiros in his homeland, also revealed to ESPN.com that the 30-year-old has an NBA out in his contract that will allow him to return to the best league in the world as soon as an offer materializes.
The plan, sources say, is for Barbosa to launch his recovery from knee surgery -- after suffering an ACL tear last February -- by getting back into game action with the Brazilian club. Word is he's looking good at this stage of his recovery, which figures to make him an attractive target for teams scouring the open market in search of an in-season infusion of bench scoring.
And that is undoubtedly how Barbosa hopes this plays out. His goal, I'm told, is playing his way onto a new NBA team as soon as possible after the knee tear limited him to just 41 games with Boston.
The injury occurred last season shortly after Barbosa, having finally worked his way into Boston's rotation, helped trigger a seven-game win streak that the Celts uncorked following Rajon Rondo's own ACL tear. Washington acquired Barbosa at the trade deadline in a deal for Jordan Crawford knowing he wouldn't be able to play, but the timing of Barbosa's knee injury also meant that he wouldn't get the chance with the Wizards to team up with countryman Nene for the first time in the NBA.