The Charlotte Bobcats have been linked to Milwaukee Bucks point guard Gary Neal in the days leading up to the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline, but nothing had come to fruition coming down to crunch time on Thursday. Now the Bobcats have landed their guy, reaching a deal with the Bucks for Neal.
According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein (Neal being dealt first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Stein following with details), the Bobcats will get Neal and Luke Ridnour in exchange for point guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien. One of Charlotte’s selling points to make the deal happen was that the Bucks could possibly move Ridnour elsewhere if they took on Sessions in the trade. However, the Bucks were able to get Charlotte to take Ridnour back in the deal.
Neal has been vocally unhappy and wanting out of Milwaukee since an incident earlier this season in the locker room involving much-maligned big man Larry Sanders in which the two got into a heated verbal altercation that resulted in Neal essentially telling Sanders that he was the only one of the duo earning his paycheck.
In terms of what Neal brings to Charlotte, though, he addresses one of the Bobcats’ primary needs as they try to hang on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Neal has proven throughout his career that he’s an effective outside shooter, hitting 39.3 percent of his threes over his career. Even with his efficiency dropping a great deal this season, Neal has still hit 36 percent of his attempts from long-range. With the Bobcats averaging the second fewest made three-point attempts per game this season, Neal helps to address that issue.
Moreover, Neal would provide the Bobcats’ bench with a much-needed sparkplug off of the bench, something they haven’t consistently had this season and could use to help stay in postseason contention through March and April. Ridnour also is intriguing as a combo guard off of the bench, though his value to the Bobcats is certainly less than Neal’s.
Adrien has been a non-factor for Charlotte this season, so his departure holds relatively little weight. In terms of letting go of Sessions, there are really no ill feelings or anything between him and Charlotte, but he doesn’t offer the same skill-set as a player like Neal. In fact, Sessions skill-set is a bit redundant of Kemba Walker’s something that the Bobcats will be able to shake up with this trade. All in all, this move allows the Bucks to stay fluid for their future and helps the Bobcats continue to strive toward their “win-now” goal for this season.