The Milwaukee Bucks are expected to be major players prior to this year’s Feb. 20 trade deadline, and Gary Neal is one of the players involved in discussions. In order to be a truly hot trade target Neal must fill a need, show value (current contract and years) and make sense from the Bucks’ standpoint. How hot is Neal? Let’s take a look.
Neal gives a willing trade partner a strong bench player with long range shooting. Last year with the San Antonio Spurs, Neal proved his worth by making several big three-point shots against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. This year he has continued to be a marksman from beyond the arc shooting 38.4 percent.
Prior to this year, Neal signed a two-year, $3.25 million deal which is definitely good value for a role player expected to see time and be productive. This is a very friendly contract that will be easy to trade for a young player, expiring deal or part of an exciting blockbuster package.
From the Bucks’ side, they have a ton of motivation to move Neal. First, there have been rumblings that the Bucks expected Neal to provide more leadership than he has shown. Secondly, there are rumors of angst between Gary and Larry Sanders. Given Sanders is the current face of the franchise, this does not bode well for Neal. As a bonus, moving Neal frees up more time for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton, two young players who benefit the more playing time received.
Verdict: Gary Neal’s trade value is very hot. It will be shocking if some deal isn’t made that sends Neal out of Milwaukee.
David is a NBA writer for Rants Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant.