Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa will wait and see what offers he has from Brazil before making a decision about exercising the $7.6 million option on his contract with Toronto or not, Leandro’s brother Arturo Barbosa told HoopsHype.
“There is big money in Brazil right now,” said Artur, a former military negotiator at the country’s army and Leandro’s personal trainer for many years. “There are a lot sponsorships opportunities and money is flowing there, so I have to open (Leandro’s) eyes to these opportunities. We love Toronto and the fans and he would love to stay there, but business is business and Brazil is an option we would have to consider.”
Flamengo would be the favorite to land Leandro’s services, according to Artur, with Corinthians also a possibility.
“Right now, we are waiting for proposals from Brazil and we would make a decision after that,” Artur said. “He could stay in Toronto, he could go to Flamengo during the lockout and then return for the rest of the season or he could sign a long contract in Brazil.”
Aside from basketball, both Flamengo and Corinthians have a rich soccer tradition and deep pockets, having signed former superstars Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, respectively, in recent years.
Futebol is where the big money is going. According to Guilherme Giovannoni, basketball players don’t make nearly as much right now.
“The league here is improving, but nobody is even close to $1 million,” Giovannoni, a member of the National Team, said. “Me, Marcelo (Machado) and Alex Garcia are the best paid and and not even us get close to that money.”
Artur is confident, though, his little brother could be an exception to the norm.
“If Leandro goes there, he will be a player that makes money like a (soccer) player because he comes from the NBA and a lot of sponsors want the association with his name because he is a celebrity in Brazil.”
Leandro’s agents Jeff Schwartz and Sam Goldfeder couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.