Indianapolis, IN - According to multiple rumors swirling around the NBA, the Indiana Pacers have begun showing preliminary interest in acquiring guard Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA’s trading deadline is closing in very quickly, and the Pacers have been searching for some more help in scoring off the bench. There’s no doubt that the Pacers could use the scoring ability that Neal would bring, but he has had some character issues with the Bucks this season. He has been unhappy with his playing time, and also unhappy with the teams lack of effort and winning as a whole.
Neal has played in 29 games this season with the Milwaukee Bucks, starting two of those appearances. He has averaged 10.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game so far this year, but he has been limited by inconsistent playing time. There’s no doubt that he would be a nice fit off the bench for the Pacers, especially helping to limit Lance Stephenson’s minutes a bit more to give him more rest.
There haven’t been any reports as to what the Bucks would want back from Indiana in return. One option that has been mentioned is Chris Copeland, but another option could very well be either Solomon Hill or Orlando Johnson. The Pacers aren’t going to move a pick for Neal, and the Bucks understand that his value has been hurt due to the issues that he has had with the Bucks over the last few weeks.
Gary Neal would make the Pacers even more dangerous, but could it also hurt their team chemistry? The easy answer to that question is no. Neal played very well with the San Antonio Spurs off the bench last season in an NBA Finals run, and he would still get a good amount of playing time off the bench with the Pacers.
Overall, these talks are in the very preliminary stages according to all of the rumors that are out there right now. The Pacers do want to acquire a bench scorer before the deadline, and Neal seems to be one of the cheapest targets that would still make a difference out on the market. Expect to see these talks advance and become more possible, even if they’re unable to reach a deal.
Evan Massey is the Lead Editor for Hoops-Nation.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.