Gary Neal Bucks

Charlotte upgrades backcourt depth, trades for Gary Neal, Ridnour from Bucks for Sessions


Charlotte may not have planned to be in the playoff picture before the season started, but now that they are they want to stay there. Their home-and-home sweep of the Pistons the last two nights was a good start on that road, the Bobcats now have a 2.5 game cushion over the Pistons (3 games over the streaking Cavaliers and 3.5 over the Knicks). Heck, the Bobcats are just 1.5 games back of fifth-seed Washington.

Now Charlotte has some backcourt depth to help them hold on to a playoff spot and maybe climb the ladder a little.

The Charlotte Bobcats have acquired veteran guards Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer and confirmed by other sources.

Sessions has been solid this season playing behind Kemba Walker, he was the kind of true professional veteran that was good to have in a young locker room (coach Steve Clifford raved about him). He will play well for the Bucks the rest of this season and get another deal somewhere for the season after that.

However, the combination of Neal and Ridnour gives Charlotte more. Neal is shooting 36 percent from three this season and the Bobcats needed a deep threat to open things up more for Al Jefferson inside and the slashing of Walker. Ridnour, like Sessions, is a solid and professional backup point guard who can play quality minutes nightly off the bench.

Milwaukee does this to save money — Neal hadn’t been a great fit for them (nobody is right now) and he is owed $3.5 million next season. That is off the Bucks’ books, and they get a quality guard in return.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha
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Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”