San Antonio Spurs sign Gary Neal

by

An undefeated run through the Las Vegas Summer League does not turn many heads, not when the squad in question lacks the intrigue of a first round draft pick or second year rising star.

DeJuan Blair out. James Anderson out. Malik Hairston out. Garrett Temple one game and out. Ryan Richards out of the country. Not even a Ian Mahinmi to pin some intrigue on.

That does not mean the Summer League was completely bereft of potential rotation players. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express reports that the San Antonio Spurs have signed sharpshooter Gary Neal to a three-year guaranteed contract.

Neal averaged 16 points in just a shade under 26 minutes through five games. More importantly, he did so while shooting 50 percent from the field and the three-point line.

Once the fourth leading scorer in college basketball, Gary Neal saw his career at La Salle University derailed after being falsely accused of rape in a coverup scandal that attracted national attention and sent that program into disarray.

Though acquitted, Neal was cast out of La Salle. He transferred to Towson, and after going undrafted, spent the past few seasons flourishing in Europe where the guys over at Draft Express kept tabs on him:

Neal operates as Benetton’s main facilitator and is looking absolutely outstanding creating shots for himself and others on the pick and roll, being arguably the most complete offensive player in that league.

While no one will confuse him with Steve Nash anytime soon, he has improved his playmaking skills substantially while keeping his turnovers to a minimum. Neal is very effective off the dribble and possesses a terrific mid-range game, needing very little space to get his shot off thanks to his quick release and excellent body control, being equally dangerous coming off screens.

Fluid and highly versatile, yet not incredibly explosive, he gets the rim nicely and finishes well around the basket, often opting to dish the ball off to an open teammate cutting to the rim or spotting up if things are looking overly congested in the painted area.

Terms of the deal have not been released, nor should it make headlines, but the move has San Antonio front office written all over it. The scouting report reads comparably favorable to Roger Mason, but before Spurs fans roll their eyes, remember Mason was once considered one of the shrewdest signings of an NBA offseason.

While it’s hard to say what ramifications this has on the overall roster—Hairston was deemed safe enough to keep out of Vegas, Temple is Popovich’s new “favorite player”, and Gee showed nicely as well—Neal provides a skill set that should fit nicely into the Spurs system.

Barring any major trades, with Richard Jefferson re-signing and Tiago Splitter coming over, the roster would appear to be close to being set. Disappointing as last season was at times, replacing Keith Bogans and Mason’s 2010 production with any type of consistency should be considered a win for the San Antonio Spurs.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    July 25th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    “Doesn’t change the fact that Lebron played very well for 7 years at Cleveland and then moved on. I agree that he lost his chance at being the next MJ, but that’s okay with me.”

    The point is LeBron had the opportunity to be the GOAT, but he “chose” to buy into the whole “king” thing. He was more concerned with his image as a stage icon than about winning, or leading a group of average to good players to the pinnacle of his profession. The fact is, LeBron had more physical gifts than MJ, and an even more dominant all-around game in some respects, but he has now frittered away his potential for ultimate greatness. It’s sad to see, really. LeBron was a guy that could have challenged MJ for GOAT, and that’s something a lot of us are disappointed with — now fully recognizing his chance of maximizing his greatness has been tossed aside into the oceans of South Beach. And for what, so that he could have a chance at “manufacturing merely a symbol of greatness”? Sure, you can be “okay with” that all you want, but it does not change the fact that what LeBron has done is set a very prominent example in our culture that it’s alright to give-up relatively quickly to pursue an easier way to “success”, even if those ultimate accomplishments turn out to be more sand than pounding the rock, more image than substance, both as a professional AND as a person. And this example of cultural decline is happening in other areas of our society as well, from politics to entertainment. LeBron has just become the biggest example of this decline in the field of sports. And that is clearly a shame.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Lenneezz

    “and an even more dominant all-around game in some respects”

    Just curious Jim, in what way is Lebaby more dominant than MJ?

    Michael was a better defender, better ball handler, better scorer, better free throw shooter, better leader, took it to the hole more often (hence the better shooting %) & more creatively & just as strong, more clutch, always rose to the occasion and had more presence.

    I guess Lebaby gets more assists; which is ironic because MJ kept his teammates more focused.
    He shoots slightly better from 3; which is also ironic because shooting 3’s rather than taking it to the hole is one of Lebaby’s problems.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “Sure, you can be “okay with” that all you want, but it does not change the fact that what LeBron has done is set a very prominent example in our culture that it’s alright to give-up relatively quickly to pursue an easier way to “success”,”

    Lebron may be extremely physically talented and not as hard a worker as MJ, but no one gets as good as he is with out a lot time and effort. I don’t think it’s mentally healthy to be as compulsive as MJ. I think MJ’s bitter HOF acceptance speech makes this clear. Lebron works plenty hard. I don’t like the example he set with doing “The Decision” but I have no problem with his work ethic.

    I also believe you should like what you do. If Lebron wasn’t happy and Cleveland he should leave. He doesn’t owe them anything other than leaving in a classier manner. He’s been more than worth the money he was paid to the franchise. He does’t owe to us to be the GOAT either.

    Here’s a recent Huffington Post article by Dave Berri. The last paragraph sums it up for me.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-berri/lebron-is-doing-for-himse_b_658348.html

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Lenneezz

    Bduran,

    Hey man, how old r you? I’m not going to start cr@p with you. I’m merely curious because I see some generational differences. I would bet you aren’t over 30.

    I’m 39.

  • bduran

    “Hey man, how old r you? I’m not going to start cr@p with you. I’m merely curious because I see some generational differences. I would bet you aren’t over 30.”

    I’m 31 so I don’t think it’s generational. I appreciate hard work and self sacrifice. Ultimately though, I believe in working to live instead of living to work and I try to keep in mind that for NBA players, basketball is a job. A great job that pays them tons of money and makes them famous, but a job nonetheless.

    I also think company loyalty has value, but I have no problem with people pursuing a good opportunity elsewhere. When someone leaves my office for a job they feel is better, I congratulate them (unless they were jerks about leaving. Clearly I don’t expect Cleveland fans to be happy for Lebron).

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Lenneezz

    Jordan’s acceptance speech wasn’t bitter. He had an argument with Reinsdorf during his career and he finished it on stage. He is just a really competitive guy. Let’s be honest. The guy won 6/8 championships and he woulda won 8 in a row. Only a very special type of personality will ever do that.

    Personally, I would not of aired some of that dirty laundry. Then again, I didn’t become the GOAT.

    Also, people who were born after 1980 need to realize that they haven’t seen an economic downturn their entire lives. Why do you think some people are calling America socialist nowadays? Because our attitudes have gotten entitled and spoiled. MJ played right after the 70’s when things were hard. Reinsdorf had his agenda and MJ had his. They both had strong opinions and ALOT to protect. Maybe after you’ve lived longer and seen something other than a prolonged 28 year economic expansion you’ll understand. Maybe sooner than later.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Lenneezz

    Ok Bduran, guess it’s not generational. I just think Lebaby can and did what we wanted. Now the fans can and will judge him and act accordingly.

    Obviously, there will be two camps in the future, regarding Lebaby. I’m sure his name will start many good debates.

  • bduran

    “Jordan’s acceptance speech wasn’t bitter. He had an argument with Reinsdorf during his career and he finished it on stage.”

    He also called out his high school coach. The guy can’t let anything go. I agree this is part of why he is the GOAT, but I don’t think he’s the happiest.

    “Also, people who were born after 1980 need to realize that they haven’t seen an economic downturn their entire lives.”

    You mean until recently? Anyway, if you want to argue that people feel more entitled now a days i’m not going to argue. Certainly we’re a far cry from the “Greatest Generation”. I don’t like how we deal with celebrity which I think is part of the problem with James. However, I don’t think the act of leaving the Cavs in and of itself is wrong or something that many other good, hard working people haven’t done. The downturn you mention is in large part responsible for the drop in company loyalty. The days of working for one company your whole life is over, for good or bad.

  • Jim Henderson

    Lenneezz
    July 25th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    ” ……in what way is Lebaby more dominant than MJ?”

    I never said James was more “dominant” than MJ as a player. I said or implied that his physical tools and skill-set is generally as good, or in some cases, superior to MJ’s. He is as fast as MJ was, only he’s 2 inches taller, 50 lbs. heavier, and a good deal stronger. He is not the more “dominant” player because he lacks the leadership, will-power, & work-ethic that MJ had, and is not as committed on the defensive end. Clearly, LeBron is a box score nightmare, but you don’t win championships on only superior box score production.

    In short, MJ was a better scorer & defender, LeBron is a better rebounder & passer, and they’re both excellent in all of these areas. Thus, you’ll see MJ excel in things like FG%, ppg., free throws, & steals, & Lebron excel in AST%, apg., & rpg. But again, the main point is that LeBron has comparable tools & skill-sets with MJ, but Jordan will always be the better player because of all the crucial intangibles he brought to bear on the game, and at the games biggest moments.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    July 25th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    “I also believe you should like what you do. If Lebron wasn’t happy and Cleveland he should leave.”

    Most of that (happiness, enjoyment) comes from within. And that’s clearly where LeBron should have been looking all along.

    “He doesn’t owe them anything other than leaving in a classier manner. He’s been more than worth the money he was paid to the franchise. He does’t owe to us to be the GOAT either.”

    I’m a big believer in taking actions that are not only good for myself, my family, and my closest friends from an individual standpoint, but that are ALSO good for my profession AND the larger society/culture. LeBron obviously doesn’t agree.

    “Here’s a recent Huffington Post article by Dave Berri. The last paragraph sums it up for me.”

    Yeah, I disagree with that last paragraph. Cleveland did more than Chicago did to get LeBron the talent the Cavs needed to contend. LeBron just doesn’t appear to have the wherewithal to be a dominant “winner” at the highest level.

  • RaiderEd

    OK. it’s gone too far when somebody suggests the Spurs trade for Adam Morrison!! C’mon!!

  • Pingback: Malik Hairston heads to Italy | 48 Minutes of Hell()

  • Jim Miller (jimjule)

    The roster. The Spurs have 11 players on guaranteed contracts: Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, Splitter, McDyess, Jefferson, Blair, Hill, Neal, Bonner and
    Anderson. Neal will be the biggest addition after Splitter. I think Pop will go with a 14 man roster so that he can add a player if the opportunity pops up after the season starts. That means there are five training camp players vying for three spots. I think Temple will make it. The Spurs need another taller small forward/power forward type to bolster the front line. That will be a fight between James Gist and Tyler Wilkerson. One of those two should make the cut. That leaves Gee and Jerrells going for spot number 14. Flip a coin on that one. But with all the upcoming young talent I think Pop and Buford have thought it well for the post Duncan era. The team may not be Laker beaters, but they will pose a serious threat against LA, Portland and Dallas in the west. PS I have been an avid Spurs fan since they arrived in San Antonio. I now root for them via NBA League Pass from afar; Florida. Go Spurs, especially G-i-n-o-o-o-b-l-i-i-i!

  • Pingback: San Antonio Spurs 2010 Training Camp Roster | 48MoH | 48 Minutes of Hell()

  • Pingback: Who will make the Spurs' 2010-2011 roster? | 48 Minutes of Hell()

  • Pingback: The Point Forward » Posts Assessing the NBA at the quarter mark, Pt. I «()

  • Pingback: San Antonio Spurs 118, Phoenix Suns 110: Gary Neal is more than just a shooter, poster()

  • Pingback: “Why can’t __________ find itself a Gary Neal?”()

  • Pingback: San Antonio Spurs 2010 Training Camp Roster | 48MoH()

  • Pingback: Spurs offseason review :: Is San Antonio done for the summer?()

  • Pingback: Back at it again: Spurs take on Las Vegas Summer League()