The Milwaukee Bucks made a lot of puzzling moves this off-season, and signing Gary Neal was one of those moves. It seemed as if the Bucks were trying to avoid tanking, so they patched some holes with guys like O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, and Neal. It hasn’t worked well for them, as they are currently the worst team in the league at 7-28, and things aren’t looking good. Gary Neal came over from the Spurs, so one would assume that he could get some good minutes on a struggling team.
Well, Neal has been benched for nine of their games so far, and he isn’t happy about his role–according to NBA.com:
“They didn’t hire me as a coach,” Neal said Friday night, effectively slamming the brakes on and.
“I don’t know what their plan is or what Coach [Larry] Drew is doing. So it’s hard to show your experience getting DNPs,” Neal said, in a calm steady voice when asked about his switch of teams prior to Friday’s game. “You can’t say anything when you don’t get in the game. I’m gonna tell somebody to do something, and I ain’t playing?”
This has been a disastrous season for the Bucks, and things are getting ugly both on the court and off. Neal was involved in an altercation with Larry Sanders in the locker room, and Sanders’ behavior isn’t reflecting well when it comes to their decision to gives him an extension.
So, how does he feel about leaving San Antonio? Neal admits that the money was a big reason he left:
“I thought I’d be able to get a consistent 20, 25 minutes a night. But for whatever reason, that hasn’t panned out,” Neal said. “It’s a business. I could have stayed in San Antonio on the qualifying offer, but then you miss out on $6 million. Sometimes all the cards fall in your favor, sometimes they don’t. Right now, it’s hard with the record being [7-28] and my role basically being non-existent. It’s a tough spot. You’ve just got to fight through it.”
When he plays, Neal is averaging 10.4 points in 20.5 minutes per game, which are right around his career averages. ESPN is reporting that Neal is on the trade market, and this relationship could be heading for an ugly ending.