Former San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal has signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that will see him mostly backup starting shooting guard O.J. Mayo. Neal was able to agree to terms with Milwaukee after San Antonio pulled their $1.1 million qualifying offer. There is no question the Bucks are very fortunate to acquire him.
Obviously, Neal would probably prefer playing with San Antonio where he can compete for championships. However, getting paid millions of dollars should certainly ease his pain. Not to mention, Milwaukee really wanted him, which will make him feel a part of something big.
Signing Neal is one more reason that the Bucks are getting ready to part ways with restricted free agent point guard Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee will have Luke Ridnour, Ish Smith, Nate Wolters, Mayo and Neal to suit up in the backcourt. Ridnour is more than capable to take over the starting point guard job while Smith and Wolters can back him up.
Neal played fairly well during the 2012-13 regular season in which he averaged 9.5 points, 1.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 21.8 minutes per game. He also shot a career-low 41.2 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc in 68 games (17 starts).
With that being said, he exploded in the NBA Finals. In fact, he recorded three straight games with at least 10 points, including a career-high 24 points in Game 3. In that contest, the 28-year-old shot 52.9 percent from the field and 60.0 (6-for-10) percent from 3-point range.
Neal has only played three seasons in the NBA so he is still learning how to play the game at a high level. With that being said, he has plenty of potential to become a top-notch player. He certainly has valuable experience from playing with the Spurs, which he can utilize while suiting up for the Bucks. He also should be able to provide valuable minutes off the bench.