Quantcast

Basketball / Sports

Bucks trade Gary Neal to Bobcats

MILWAUKEE -- Gary Neal never fit with the Milwaukee Bucks.

And now he's gone after playing just 30 games with the franchise.

Neal had hoped for a more meaningful role in Milwaukee after signing a two-year, $6.5 million contract as a free agent during the off-season. But it never materialized and he was traded Thursday to the Charlotte Bobcats in a four-player deadline deal.

Neal and veteran point guard Luke Ridnour went to the Bobcats in exchange for veteran guard Ramon Sessions and power forward Jeff Adrien.

It will be Sessions' second go-round in Milwaukee after he played the first two years of his NBA career with the Bucks. He was Milwaukee's second-round pick in 2007 (56th overall) before moving on to Minnesota, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte.

The Bucks will save approximately $3.8 million in the trade and get off the hook for the second year of Neal's contract while picking up two expiring deals. Sessions is in the second of a two-year, $10 million deal and Adrien is making $916,000 this season.

"I think it just helped clean up our roster a little bit," Bucks general manager John Hammond said. "From a financial standpoint we've given ourselves a little bit more room."

Neal, who played three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, was in and out of coach Larry Drew's rotation and did not play in 21 games due to coach's decision.

"It was a tough situation for him," Drew said of the 6-foot-3 Neal. "Having played down in San Antonio under that situation, being with a winning organization and coming here and playing behind younger guys. This team is in somewhat of a rebuilding stage.

"Sometimes when you go places, they just don't fit. That's just the nature of our business. There are places that fit for some players that don't fit for others."

Neal battled a plantar fasciitis injury early in the season and missed nine straight games before returning on New Year's Eve in a Bucks victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles. Then he found trouble when he got into a heated locker room argument with center Larry Sanders following a loss in Phoenix on Jan. 4.

He sat in 12 of the Bucks' next 13 games before finally returning to the rotation. Neal played in the last four games and averaged 13.7 points in his final three games with the Bucks.

Neal averaged 10.0 points and 1.5 assists in his 30 appearances, including two starts. Ridnour played in 36 games, including 12 starts, and averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 assists.

Sessions, 27, served as the primary backup to Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker and was averaging 10.5 points and 3.7 assists for the Bobcats. Sessions was shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 78.2 percent from the foul line.

Sessions will not stretch the floor with his shooting as Neal did but can play either the point guard or shooting guard spots. He likely will play a backup role to both Bucks starters, rookie Nate Wolters and third-year pro Brandon Knight.

"I've always admired Ramon's game from afar," Drew said. "Having to play against him, there were certain things he did that were kind of a nuisance to you as far as trying to defend him.

"A guy who has the ability to get to the basket, and not just that, but he draws fouls and gets to the free throw line a lot. He's a guy that can make a shot. He plays the game with an aggression at that position.

"I think any combination of those guys (Wolters, Knight and Sessions) will work. All three are tough guys and play bigger than they are."

Drew admitted that the rapid progress by Wolters, the second-round pick from South Dakota State, contributed to Neal's situation.

"When we started this thing, we didn't know where Nate would be at this stage," Drew said. "Looking at our guard situation, Nate was not factored in as a primary piece as far as our rotation was concerned.

"He's certainly played his way and showed that he deserves to be in the rotation. With him playing so well, that helps us to move forward to where we want to be after this season with this franchise."

Sessions averaged 14.4 points and 3.7 assists in 61 games off the bench for Charlotte last season. He was traded by Cleveland to the Lakers during the lockout-shortened 2011-'12 season and became a starter in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant.

Injuries to Steve Blake and Derek Fisher caused the Lakers to make the trade to obtain Sessions, who averaged 12.7 points and 6.2 assists in 23 games with Los Angeles.

Adrien, 28, is a 6-foot-7 power forward and was averaging 2.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 25 games with the Bobcats this season. A native of Brookline, Mass., Adrien played at Connecticut under Jim Calhoun.

Adrien is averaging 12.4 rebounds per 36 minutes this season, including 4.6 offensive rebounds, an interesting statistic.

"Having played against Charlotte and the minutes he's played, he certainly got my attention right off the bat," Drew said. "He's a phenomenal rebounder; he's a physical guy.

"He treats every shot as a missed shot. He's relentless in going for that basketball off the glass. It's two guys who have to learn what we do. We're going to be cramming things at them with two months of basketball left to play."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at www.jsonline.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus