According to a report by Marc Stein of ESPN, the Bucks are “actively looking” to trade away Gary Neal before the trade deadline.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks will do everything they can to find a new home for Neal before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, conceding that last summer’s signing of the former San Antonio sharpshooter hasn’t worked out as planned.
Neal got into a post-loss dispute with Larry Sanders when the Bucks visited Phoenix Saturday. Before capping his locker room exit with an expletive, Neal said to Sanders, “I earned my money. Why don’t you try it?”
The interest in a trade pretty much confirms the Neal signing as a three-way failure. In addition to clashing with a teammate, Neal has played poorly and struggled to stay on the court while dealing with a plantar fasciitis problem that began when he was still a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
Neal is averaging 10.4 points in 20.5 minutes per game for the Bucks, and shooting a plump 41.9 percent from the 3-point range. But his effect on the Bucks has been a net negative.
Milwaukee has been almost 10 points per 100 possessions better with Neal off the court than on, and they’ve played more than 15 points per 100 possessions (a truly repugnant number) worse than their opponents with him in the game. There are a number of reasons for his ineffectiveness: poor shooting on two-point field goals (37.8%), awful defense, too much time at point guard (partially due to injuries to Knight/Ridnour), an inability to create shots for anyone not named Gary Neal, and again, the impact of the plantar fasciitis.
The Bucks signed Neal as an unrestricted free agent to a two-year, $6.5 million deal (with team option for a third season) in July.