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Towson grad Gary Neal waived by Wizards

Washington Wizards' Gary Neal (14) moves the ball as he tries to get around Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon (00) during the second half of an NBA game Jan. 9, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Washington won, 105-99.
Washington Wizards' Gary Neal (14) moves the ball as he tries to get around Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon (00) during the second half of an NBA game Jan. 9, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Washington won, 105-99. (John Raoux/AP photo)

WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards have waived guard Gary Neal (Towson University, Aberdeen, Calvert Hall) and signed Marcus Thornton to replace him.

With shooting guard Bradley Beal's playing time limited by injuries recently, and Neal sidelined the past 14 games with a bad leg, the Wizards wanted some backcourt depth.

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The Houston Rockets' Marcus Thornton looks to pass against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA game Jan. 20, 2016, in Houston.
The Houston Rockets' Marcus Thornton looks to pass against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA game Jan. 20, 2016, in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/AP photo)

The Wizards signed Neal as a free agent in July, hoping he could help offset the departure of Paul Pierce.

Neal averaged 9.8 points for Washington, but he appeared in only 40 of the team's 63 games entering Wednesday.

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After eight years as a basketball vagabond that took him from Turkey to the NBA Finals, Gary Neal will cherish a rare opportunity to revisit his roots this week.

Thornton has played seven seasons with six NBA teams, averaging 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

In 47 games with the Houston Rockets this season, Thornton averaged 10 points. Houston waived him last month.

The Wizards on Thursday formally announced that they signed Gary Neal, a Calvert Hall and Towson product. The reported one-year, $2.1 million contract makes Washington his fifth NBA team and fourth since leaving the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.

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