When the San Antonio Spurs grabbed Marco Belinelli
with a cheap deal (two-years, $6 million), the writing was just about on the wall: Gary Neal, a restricted free agent this offseason, would not return. Belinelli replicated much of Neal's duties, likely at a reduced cost, so it seemed a tad redundant to roster two similar players.
Or, you know, maybe not.
According to ESPN.com's Jared Zwerling
, league sources believe the Spurs will "likely" re-sign Neal. The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been shy this offseason, signing O.J. Mayo and making a push for Neal — his services reportedly interest three other teams as well.
San Antonio own's Neal's Bird Rights, and have enough wiggle room under the luxury tax ($71.6 million) to make a deal work. The backcourt at that juncture would be awfully jammed — Tony Parker, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo and Patty Mills are also expected to contribute minutes — and that depth allows the Spurs to venture into the trade market aggressively. Each player earns a respectable salary, making it even easier to facilitate a deal for a wing or future asset.
I'm still on the fence with this potential move, especially if Neal earns a decent sum of money, but putting a bunch of productive role players in Gregg Popovich's system is almost never a bad thing.