The trade reports are beginning to stir with the NBA trade deadline nearing, and the latest announcement will bring two role players to a team fighting to stay in the playoff hunt.
The Charlotte Bobcats reportedly acquired Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. Marc Stein of ESPN reported the news via Twitter on Thursday afternoon:
The Bobcats official website later confirmed the report.
Charlotte is currently sitting at 25-30 and in the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. But with both the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers sneaking up behind them, the Bobcats needed to make a deal to bring in more talent and add depth to the roster.
Averaging 10 points per game, Neal adds a scoring threat to the Bobcats off the bench that will be key during the potential run to the playoffs.
Neal also comes into a much better situation with Charlotte after playing meaningless minutes all season for a team that hasn't been able to escape the doldrums of the East. The shooting guard also offers a career .393 shooting percentage from behind the arch.
He has been disappointed with his playing time as a Buck, as Steve Aschburner of NBA.com reported back in January:
I thought I’d be able to get a consistent 20, 25 minutes a night. But for whatever reason, that hasn’t panned out. It’s a business. I could have stayed in San Antonio on the qualifying offer, but then you miss out on $6 million.
Sometimes all the cards fall in your favor, sometimes they don’t. Right now, it’s hard with the record being [7-28] and my role basically being non-existent. It’s a tough spot. You’ve just got to fight through it.
Now Neal gets the best of both worlds with a shot to possibly play more minutes as well as get back into the playoffs with his new team.
Ridnour is by no means a dependable guard who will become a starter in the Bobcats system, but his addition to the deal is crucial to help ease the pain of losing Sessions, as Travis Hancock of 610 The Fan-Charlotte points out:
As for what the Bucks get out of the trade, adding Adrien and Sessions gives Milwaukee two players with expiring contracts at the end of the season who can still fill a role in 2014. With an eye toward the future, this is a logical move.
Both teams got exactly what they wanted out of the deal. While it wasn't a huge blockbuster move for either franchise, it could help shape both teams' futures—with one looking to get into the postseason this year, and the other building for seasons to come.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: