WASHINGTON — Gary Neal appeared to take a shot on social media at some of his former Wizards teammates on Monday, though that’s not how Neal sees it.
Neal, who played 40 games on a one-year contract for the Wizards this past season, averaging 9.8 points and 1.2 assists, first commented on Facebook about being the Wizards’ leading scorer off the bench and the team’s best three-point shooter in 2015-16. He appears to be incorrect on both accounts.
Out of four players to play at least 40 games while coming primarily off the bench for the Wizards, Neal actually placed second behind Ramon Sessions (17.5) in points per 36 minutes (Neal, 17.4) — while still ahead of Nene (17.3) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12.7) — and second behind Sessions (9.9) in points per game (Neal, 9.8).
Neal was indeed the Wizards’ best three-point shooter off the bench, shooting 41 percent per 36 and per game, although Jared Dudley, who started 41 of his 81 games played, shot 42 percent from three-point range per game and 36 minutes.
Here was Neal’s original Facebook post.
Once this made its way to Twitter, CSN’s J. Michael and Chris Miller brought Neal’s comments to the attention of some of those former teammates, specifically Nene, Jared Dudley and Garrett Temple (although that’s not Nene’s correct Twitter handle).
Neal responded from an unverified Twitter account, but J. Michael replied as though he was speaking to the real Gary Neal, rather than some Twitter impostor, so let’s just assume J. Michael knows to whom he’s speaking.
(Editor’s Note: Some quotes have been cleaned up slightly for clarity.)
Neal tried to refute the notion that he was somehow attacking his former teammates, to which J. Michael replied, “That’s how they took it. Trust me, I’ve talked to some them and asked how they took it.”
It should be noted J. Michael is currently reporting from NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, attended annually by a number of NBA players who may or may not actually be playing in games.
“That’s a problem of theirs,” Neal replied. “I don’t care how they took it; I’m telling you that it wasn’t for them or about them.”
“I understand you don’t feel you meant it that way,” J. Michael said. “I’m just telling you that’s how the ones I’ve talked to took it.”
Neal continued to refute the allegation that he was taking a shot at his former teammates, as you’ll notice above. For a little better perspective, let’s take a look at that Facebook post one more time.
Those contract figures seem to be pretty specific.
Let’s look at some of the contracts signed by 2015-16 Wizards this free agency period:
Garrett Temple, Kings: 3 years, $24 million ($8 million per year)
Ramon Sessions, Hornets: 2 years, $12.3 million ($6.15 million per year)
Jared Dudley, Suns: 3 years, $30 million ($10 million per year)
Nene, Rockets: 1 year, $2.9 million
Could just be a strange coincidence.
Anyhow, J. Michael then dropped this also-probably-coincidental nugget.
J. Michael has since elaborated further in a post on CSNMidAtlantic.com. It’s strongly suggested you read it in full, but here’s a quick snapshot:
Another former teammate, reflecting on the season Sunday, spoke about feeling as if Neal was trying to show him up in front of teammates — this conversation with CSN took place almost 24 hours before the Facebook post — and concluded: “I should’ve punched him out.” When Neal was with the Milwaukee Bucks, that almost happened with Larry Sanders.
Said another teammate from 2015-16 after seeing Neal’s post Monday, via text: “Terrible teammate. All about himself.”
Probably one big misunderstanding.
Update (8:30 p.m.): Neal remains unsigned.