Money has been flowing freely in free agency, but even in this summer’s big spending spree, some players have yet to get in on the fun. Gary Neal is one of them. Tuesday morning, he took to Facebook to make his case for a deal:
He has a point, to a certain extent. Last season, he shot the ball exceptionally well. He was one of only eight players who shot over 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the free throw line.
But despite all of Neal’s success getting the ball in the hoop, not everyone was thrilled about how he handled himself last season, according to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The word "selfish" often was used after postgame losses by various players -- something that was rarely said in the previous two playoff seasons -- and though Neal's name was never used publicly that's who was the primary target. That term also was used by some on the coaching staff.
Teammates complained about his locker room behavior to the point that Drew Gooden, CSNmidatlantic.com was told by someone there at the time, asked, "What is wrong with that dude?" He rubbed some players the wrong way because, it was interpreted, all of Neal's concerns about the offense involved getting himself better statistics so he could get paid this summer.
Neal took to Twitter after the report to insist the Facebook post wasn’t about trying to put down his former teammates:
@DistrictMamba I'm Not Throwing Any Shade At Anybody!! What They Received They Earned!!My Comment Is About Me!!!— Gary Neal (@gneal1414) July 11, 2016
@OCon119 Nothing Else Goin On In World Besides Gary Neal's Facebook Post?— Gary Neal (@gneal1414) July 11, 2016
Regardless of what you make of Neal’s comments and his interactions in Washington, there’s still the matter of how the team performed on the court last season. The Wizards were outscored by 9.0 points per 100 possessions when Neal was on the floor, the worst Net Rating of any player on the team who played as many as minutes as him. Believe it or not, that rating dropped to -12.1 when Neal played with John Wall, the second-worst rating for a Wizard last season when playing alongside Wall.
In a certain way, it almost makes you appreciate what Neal was able to do strictly as a shooter last season. To shoot that well as an aging, undersized shooting guard who wasn’t getting along with teammates is remarkable when you really think about it. Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll need to do more than just be a good shooter to get another NBA team to take a shot on him for next season.