The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner and teams are becoming more and more active with hopes of acquiring a few final pieces that will help them accomplish their goals for the season. Washington’s brass has always done a decent job in staying out of trade rumors, but when it comes to making moves, general manager Ernie Grunfeld always seems to find a way to make a few deals before the deadline. The Wizards have already traded their two most attractive assets, Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract and their first round pick for this upcoming NBA Draft (top-12 protected) to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcin Gortat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re done making moves.
Washington’s bench has been dreadful this season, forcing Randy Wittman to play Nene and Martell Webster off the bench. The Wizards are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, but they could potentially move up in the standings, which leads me to believe that Nene and Webster will likely get their starting roles back sooner rather than later. If that’s the case, the Wizards are going to have to find a way to get scoring off their bench and it’s become pretty clear that they don’t have many reserves capable of scoring the ball. Eric Maynor, who the Wizards signed to a 2-year deal in the summer hoping he’d become their lead guard off the bench, hasn’t panned out and the bench has taken a drastic step back from this past season. Both Al Harrington and Glen Rice Jr. are out with injuries, and the Wizards don’t have a scoring punch off the bench as a result.
With that said, the Milwaukee Bucks also acquired Gary Neal this offseason and it hasn’t worked out as well as they thought it would. Neal gained some momentum during last year’s NBA Finals against the Miami Heat and he doesn’t seem very pleased with playing on a “tanking” team. He reportedly got into an argument with Larry Sanders, who the Bucks signed to a long term extension, and Milwaukee’s locker room doesn’t seem to be in great shape.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, “the Bucks will do everything they can to find a new home for guard Gary Neal via trade before Feb. 20 deadline.” Larry Sanders has gotten into multiple off court incidents after signing a long extension with the Bucks, but he’s still obviously a lot more important to the Bucks franchise than Neal is.
Although the Wizards don’t have much to offer, the Bucks seem to be desperately trying to rid themselves of Neal’s presence on their team which could benefit a team like the Wizards. For the sake of having a trade idea, I put together a deal in ESPN’s Trade Machine involving Eric Maynor and Chris Singleton in exchange for Gary Neal.
Eric Maynor and Chris Singleton haven’t done much this season, but I think they’d help Milwaukee’s locker room situation. Maynor has been absolutely terrible, but players on the team have gone out of their way to credit him for his leadership and professionalism. He’s lost his rotation spot to Garrett Temple, but he’s never attempted to make anything of the situation like other guards in Washington have in the past. He’s constantly stressed that he’ll eventually get another opportunity and that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. If you’ve been following me for the past few months, you’d know how much I hate watching Eric Maynor play and how bad he’s been this season. In fact, he’s probably been the worst backup guard in the NBA this season, but he has been able to stay composed despite losing his rotation spot early in the season.
Chris Singleton would essentially be an expiring contract for the Bucks who could potentially add some depth to their forward spot. Again, the Bucks aren’t necessarily trying to win and playing Chris Singleton wouldn’t help nor hurt them in the process.
On the Wizards side of the deal, they’d get Gary Neal, who’s made a living by scoring the ball at a high level as a reserve. Neal has averaged over 10 points this season, but he hasn’t been very efficient in the process. He’s always been a gunner, but I think he’d be an upgrade over Maynor or Singleton off the bench. Like Maynor, Neal has two seasons left on his contract, but the Wizards could probably flip him after this season if the move doesn’t pan out. Neal wouldn’t be the answer to all of Washington’s problems, but he would be a scoring spark off the bench. He’s shot about 42 percent from 3-point territory this season and I think he’d benefit from playing with John Wall, Nene, and even Marcin Gortat.
It doesn’t hurt to pick up the phone and check on availability of certain players, especially if a team seems desperate to make a trade. Neal needs a change of scenery and the Wizards have built a solid foundation in the locker room.