Just like the leaves falling off trees in the fall, players will leave roles as key role players for a championship caliber team in search of the next big paycheck and a larger role for a team who is trying to make it into the playoffs.
While I don’t begrudge a players cashing in on his hard work, but as the adage goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Players sometimes tend to overlook the little details that in the end are big determining factors in their overall performance.
Players tend to forget that their teammates and the offensive scheme also helped to create the open looks and the success they enjoyed individually. So as a result, some players tend to focus on the big payday as the main reason when making their decision on which team to join.
In the past Beno Udrih, and Steven Jackson (after his first stint with the Spurs) are a few examples who have left San Antonio for bigger roles with other teams.
However, that wasn't the case for former Spur Gary Neal. The writing was on the wall that his minutes on the court and possibly in the rotation, was going to be diminished next season. With the emergence of Cory Joseph, and guards Nando De Colo, Manu Ginobili, and new Spur Marco Belinelli, the writing was on the wall… there just wasn't going to be space for him anymore.
Neal, who just recently inked a two year, $6 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and in a recent phone interview, he spoke about leaving the San Antonio Spurs and comparing his new situation to the old situation in San Antonio he left.
"In San Antonio you had the expectation of being a team that's going to be in the playoffs or make it to the Western Conference finals every year," Neal said in a telephone interview. "Even though Milwaukee doesn't have those same expectations nationally, I have an opportunity to play a bigger role and a bigger part here. As a competitor you look for that situation. This is the first time I've had this role in the NBA."
Quickly next season Neal will realize last season’s open looks will be now be contested shots with two or more players defending him. By acquiring the bigger role, opposing teams will gear their defense to stopping what he does best, which means he will need to expand his game to help set up his new teammates in order to create room for his shot.
So Spurs’ fans how do you think Gary Neal’s 2013-2014 season will be in comparison to his 2012-2013 season?