Gary Neal To The Bucks?
The Bucks have been the subject of some recent rumors lately. Earlier, I reported that they were in the mix for J.R. Smith, but then the Knicks ended re-signing J.R. Smith, which shot that rumor down. Now another rumor has surfaced, courtesy of Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk on NBC Sports and Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times, which is that the Milwaukee Bucks are one of four teams “in the mix” for Gary Neal.
The reason for the J.R. Smith rumors was because of the departure of Monta Ellis, who will not be back with the Bucks. The Bucks at the time clearly needed a replacement for Ellis, and J.R. Smith at the time seemed like a viable option. But now that they have agreed to a deal with O.J. Mayo, that role no longer needs to be filled. However, with J.J. Redick on his way to the Clippers, the Bucks could use another guy to fill the void left by Redick as a 3-point shooter off the bench. That is exactly what Gary Neal could do for them, and judging by how he played in the NBA Finals for the Spurs, he might actually be an upgrade at that role.
Since Neal is a restricted free agent, the Spurs could match an offer for Neal, but Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk points out:
When the San Antonio Spurs signed Marco Belinellithis summer, it made you wonder if they would bring back restricted free agent Gary Neal. The Spurs have 14 roster spots filled right now, match Neal and they have the full 15 (and now wiggle room to add guys) and they would carry eight guards. That’s not likely.
If the Spurs decide not to match an offer for Neal, which is very possible due to the reasons Helin points out, don’t be surprised to see Neal end up in a Bucks uniform. He provides a role that they need to have filled and he also has NBA Finals experience, which heaven knows the Bucks could use more of in their locker room.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord