With his current team, the Milwaukee Bucks, headed nowhere and valuable playoff experience under his belt, point guard Gary Neal has understandably become a target for teams at this year’s trade deadline.
For a while the Oklahoma City Thunder made sense for the 29-year-old point guard, as they are presently playing what’s left of Derek Fisher for 16 minutes a game and have no choice but to worry about Russell Westbrook re-injuring himself upon his return later this week.
Recent reports tied the Thunder to Neal, also indicating that the Charlotte Bobcats were interested. Tonight Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting that the Thunder are not in on the point guard, but the Bobcats are:
On Gary Neal front, person w/knowledge of Thunder thinking disputes reports that they’re interested in the Bucks PG. Charlotte does though.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 20, 2014
Fisher is averaging 5 points and 1.4 assists per game. In 20 minutes per game, Neal is averaging 10 points and 1.5 assists.
If Westbrook returns and plays like Westbrook, slashing, attacking, and generally wreaking havoc, then the bar for the team’s back-up point guard is pretty low. But given the struggles the Thunder saw without him last year, a little security might have been desirable.
As for the Bobcats, they are looking to do something to bolster their roster and enhance their chances to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. Having also been connected to Arron Afflalo, Evan Turner and Brandon Bass as potential targets, it looks like the path is wide open if they want to make a play for Neal.