Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 7/8/13
Four days ago word came out that San Antonio Spurs restricted free agent guard Gary Neal was gaining attention on the open market and the Spurs might not be able to match the price teams are asking for Neal. Though none of those team names were released, it seems the Milwaukee Bucks are one of four teams who have interest in Neal according to Gery Woelfel of the JournalTimes.com. Bucks are 1 of 4 teams in mix for Gary Neal. — Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 9, 2013 Before free agency began, the Spurs did extend a $1.1 million dollar qualifying offer to Neal making him a restricted free agent. That means that if a team offers a signing sheet to Neal, the Spurs will have three days to match the offer to keep Neal. However, as I wrote in my column three days ago, the recent free agent move the Spurs made in reaching a verbal agreement with guard Marco Belinelli might be a sign Neal’s tenure in San Antonio could be over. The first issue would be finances. Though the exact details of Tiago Splitter, Manu Ginobili, Beinelli, and Jeff Pendergraph’s deals won’t be known until after they sign contracts on July 10, one would assume the Spurs couldn’t match an offer over their qualifying offer for Neal. The second issue would be that with the roster already going to have 14 players on roster after July 10, Neal would be the 15th and final player added, which would mean San Antonio would have 8 guards. The Bucks could be losing both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in free agency, but they have already received verbal commitments from guards O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino, along with center Zaza Pachulia. There have also been reports of the Bucks looking into a sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Jennings and Jeff Teague. If Milwaukee were to sign Neal, he would have an opportunity to play more minutes in Milwaukee as he could either play the backup point guard role or sixth man role as he did for the Spurs at times. In three seasons with the Spurs, Neal’s accumulated $2,141,584 million despite all the critical plays he’s made from his 2011 game tying 3-pointer against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5 to his recent Finals performances against the Miami Heat. Either way, Neal is due a payday and it should be coming soon. 
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