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Wizards reach agreement with Baltimore native Gary Neal

Wizards reach agreement with Baltimore native Gary Neal
Charlotte Hornets guard Gary Neal brings the ball upcourt against the New York Knicks on Jan. 24. (Nell Redmond, Associated Press)

The Washington Wizards have agreed to a one-year deal worth approximately $2.1 million with guard Gary Neal, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The signing cannot be finalized until Thursday, when the NBA's moratorium is lifted.

Washington used its biannual exception to acquire Neal, who provides the Wizards the potent perimeter scorer off the bench they have been seeking. Neal played at Aberdeen, Calvert Hall and Towson University.

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Washington also is in the running for veteran big man David West, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

West is choosing between the Wizards and San Antonio Spurs after turning down a $12.2 million player option to return to the Indiana Pacers to join another organization he believes is closer to winning a championship. Washington would give West the midlevel exception, which is projected to be worth $5.464 million next season.

The Wizards expect to lose backup center Kevin Seraphin so West would provide frontline depth and experience, leadership and positive locker room presence they covet in the wake of losing Paul Pierce to the the Los Angeles Clippers. West, who turns 35 in August, is a power forward but the Wizards are not actively shopping Nene, their starting power forward last season, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Nene has one year left and $13 million remaining on his contract.

Washington's activity comes one day after the Wizards agreed to a trade utilizing one of their two trade exceptions for forward Jared Dudley for a protected future second-round pick with the Milwaukee Bucks. Dudley helps fill the need for a stretch-four and wing depth after Pierce's departure.

Neal, an eight-year veteran, averaged 10.1 points in 22.1 minutes per game 54 contests for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets last season. He owns a 9.9 points-per-game average for his career. The 30-year-old Neal also historically is an efficient 3-point shooter. He has shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc for his career, though the number dipped to 30.5 percent last season.

The 6-foot-4 Neal went undrafted in 2007 and played three seasons overseas with stints in Turkey, Spain and Italy. The Baltimore native returned stateside to join the Spurs in 2010 at the age of 26 and immediately made an impact, averaging 9.8 points in 80 games.

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