Perhaps nothing about the 2014 NBA trade deadline has been more clear than the fact that the Bucks would like to trade Gary Neal.
Since arriving in Milwaukee, Neal bemoaned his diminished role, clashed with Larry Sanders, and performed at a level below his career averages. Other teams seem to want him because he is a good shooter, he comes with a contract of optimal duration, and he has playoff experience at the league’s highest levels.
The Bobcats are among the teams ignoring the fact that Neal exactly been a defensive stalwart, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Marc Stein:
Hearing Bobcats continue to press for Bucks G Gary Neal and trying before deadline in 7+ hours to sell MILW on Ramon Sessions-for-Neal deal
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
The primary motivation for the Bucks to make a Neal move is to not have to pay Neal for the 2014-15 season. This proposed trade with Charlotte would accomplish that goal, but nothing more.
Ideally, general manager John Hammond is holding out for something more, whether it be a cheaper/less dead deadweight expiring contract coming back in return, or perhaps the tiniest of tiny assets: a mildly useful player with a year left on his contract, or a top-45 protected draft pick or some other marginal resource.
Two things to keep in mind:
First, Gary Neal has a life outside basketball. While he likely requested the move to another team, he has a wife and a toddler and a newborn, and moving to a new city to set up shop (after just going that same thing six months ago) cannot be easy.
Second, any trade involving Neal still hinges on him passing a physical with his new team. Neal battled plantar fasciitis at the end of his time in San Antonio and at the beginning of his stint in Milwaukee.