Gary Neal is having a career season for the Milwaukee Bucks, a playoff team from a season ago that's struggling even in this weakened Eastern Conference. So, of course, they want to trade him before the Feb. 20 deadline.
The reason is because Neal, who played at nearby Towson University, is discontent sharing a locker room with Larry Sanders as they had a near-physical altercation with each other over the weekend. Neal is a 6-4 shooting guard who averages 10.4 points per game and is on a contract that pays him $3.2 million this season and next. Neal spent his first three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, being a key contributor to last season's Western Conference championship team.
This logic is inevitable: The Wizards need bench scoring, Neal is accustomed to being a reserve and can be instant offense as he is a threat the moment he crosses half-court.
That's all true. But barring injury, the Wizards already have a player who fills that role in Martell Webster who is several inches taller, bigger physically and a better defender and the same holds true for Otto Porter, who is slowly working his way into more playing time since a right hip flexor strain delayed his rookie season. There's just not enough minutes in the rotation unless the Wizards have another bench player (Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Eric Maynor) that the Bucks covet enough to make it worth helping a conference foe better. That's doubtful.
When it comes to free agents, remember that the Wizards have the maximum 15 players under contract so in order to sign another player they'd have to release someone and still be on the hook for that guaranteed salary with just $1.3 million available in cap space under a much more punitive luxury tax system.
Never fear, plenty more names will hit the trade carousel in the coming weeks that could be better matches at lighter price-tags.