WIZARDS SIGN FORMER TOWSON PRODUCT GARY NEAL TO ONE YEAR $2.1 MILLION DEAL USING BI-ANNUAL EXCEPTION
Two days removed from losing The Truth to the Clippers and one day removed from acquiring stretch-four option Jared Dudley, the Wizards have continued wheeling and dealing by signing local product Gary Neal to a one-year deal for $2.1 million, using their bi-annual exception (BAE), that they did not use last summer. After receiving heat for letting Pierce go, GM Ernie Grunfeld seems to be back in many fans good graces with the additions of Oubre, Dudley, and now Neal.
Free agent guard Gary Neal has agreed to a one-year, $2.1M deal with Washington, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2015
Neal has just five years in the NBA after starting his pro career overseas, but at the age of 30 his legs are already starting to wear down. However, the Wizards most likely brought the former Towson Tiger back to the local area because of his three-point shooting ability. Neal wanted a chance to contend for a championship as well as play closer to his home as a Baltimore native. The Wizards provided the best of both worlds.
Neal is coming off of a horrendous season where he shot just 29.3 percent (39 of 133) from beyond the arc for the Charlotte Hornets, but that could partially be chalked up to the sputtering nature of that franchise. This should be looked at as an outlier in his career, where he is an above average 38.1 percent shooter from deep. Neal fills the three-point shooting hole for the Wizards, as behind Bradley Beal (after the departure of Pierce), John Wall made the second most three pointers (20) for the team after the all-star break.
Neal spent three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, but he wasn’t re-signed in favor of their current three-point specialist, Danny Green. Neal bounced around the league a little bit after that. He signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the then-Charlotte Bobcats (along with oft-traded Luke Ridnour). Neal was then most recently traded to the Timberwolves, where he finished out the late stages of 2015 before becoming a free agent this summer.
The key to this signing taking place was the short term nature that had no impact on next year’s salary cap, because of the BAE, so the Wizards can save up for you know who.
This puts the Wizards at 13 players under contract, but they still have to use their mid-level exception, worth $5.5 million, and possibly re-sign Drew Gooden. With talks of signing David West — who does not fit the requirements of a stretch four if you were wondering — the Wiz utilizing the MLE will only be likely if Nene is traded, though the Wiz are not drawing many offers. Assuming Gooden is re-signed, things would not look the best for former Terp Dez Wells joining the roster, unless Martell Webster and/or DeJuan Blair (who are at this point just taking up a seat with no use) are moved.
UPDATED Projected Depth Chart:
PG: John Wall, Ramon Sessions
SG: Bradley Beal, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Martell Webster
PF: Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair
C: Marcin Gortat, Nene
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