FEBRUARY 21ST, 6:37pm: The Timberwolves have no plans for a buyout with Neal, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The season-ending injury to Shabazz Muhammad has no bearing on Minnesota’s thinking, Wojnarowski adds.
FEBRUARY 20TH, 9:35am: Saunders indicated that he remains disinclined to do a buyout, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune relays. “I’m not into buyouts,” Saunders said. “I’m not into paying a guy to play for someone else. It has to make sense for the team, not just the player.” To be clear, Neal would by definition be the party relinquishing money in a buyout, though Minnesota would still have to pay whatever remains on his contract, even if he hooks up with a new team.
5:42pm: The Wizards would have interest in Neal if he were to become a free agent, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com reports (Twitter link). Washington has an open roster spot it could use to add Neal, Michael adds.
4:21pm: The Bulls also have interest in Neal should he reach a buyout deal, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).
FEBRUARY 19TH, 11:38am: Neal wants a trade to a playoff team, and the Hawks remain one of four or five postseason-bound clubs with interest in trading for him, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). He will indeed push for a buyout if there’s no trade, Berger adds (Twitter link).
FEBRUARY 18TH, 4:09pm: Neal continues to prefer either a trade or a buyout rather than remaining in Minnesota, Chris Mannix Of SI.com reports (Twitter link). Atlanta remains interested in Neal, Mannix adds.
FEBRUARY 13TH, 1:08pm: There’s a significant level of interest in Neal around the league, and the Hawks are among the teams that would like to sign him, but substantive buyout talks between the Relativity Sports client and the Wolves have yet to take place, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
9:12pm: Neal and his representatives will make a push to reach a buyout deal with the Wolves, in spite of Minnesota’s preference he remain on the roster for the remainder of the season, Wolfson tweets.
3:38pm: The Wolves have no plans to arrange a buyout with Neal, Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders told reporters, including Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Instead, Saunders said he insisted on receiving a shooter in the deal with the Hornets, Zgoda notes, though Neal has slumped from behind the arc this year, as I noted (below).
12:40pm: Minnesota is looking at either a buyout or another trade involving Neal, Charania now says (on Twitter).
FEBRUARY 10TH, 12:22pm: The Wolves plan to explore a buyout with Gary Neal after having acquired him from the Hornets this afternoon, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link) Charania previously reported that the team would look for ways to flip the guard (Twitter link), but his latest dispatch indicates that Minnesota won’t do that. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities first raised the possibility that Neal would push for a buyout (on Twitter). In any case, the Wolves have plans for the roster spot that today’s trade opened up, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press, adding that he’s heard that spot should be filled by day’s end.
Neal, 30, is making $3.25MM in the final season of a two-year contract that he signed in 2013 with the Bucks, who shipped him to the Hornets a year ago. He’s a client of Dan Fegan’s Relativity Sports, an agency with multiple Timberwolves clients, as Wolfson points out (Twitter link).
The fifth-year veteran is experiencing his worst three-point shooting season so far, nailing just 29.3%. He was a 39.4% three-point shooter during his first four seasons of action, and that skill led Charlotte to acquire him at last year’s deadline. Neal has averaged 9.6 points in 21.7 minutes per game across 43 appearances this season.