Created: 02/21/2014 3:57 PM KSTP.com
By: STEVE REED
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats are trying to bolster their 3-point shooting for the playoff stretch run.
The Bobcats acquired guards Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien just hours before the NBA trade deadline Thursday, both teams announced.
The trade is expected to give Charlotte's outside shooting a boost as the Bobcats make a push for the playoffs.
Neal, a career 43 percent 3-point shooter, should help a team that lacks a true shooting guard. Session was a valuable backup point guard for Charlotte but Ridnour should help to fill that void.
Neal spent three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before signing this past offseason with the Bucks as a free agent. He is averaging 10 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range.
Ridnour, in his 11th NBA season, can play both guard spots. He's played in 36 games this season and is averaging 5.7 points and 3.4 assists in 21.2 minutes. He's averaging 9.8 points per game for his career.
"We are excited to add a pair of quality players to our backcourt," Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said in a press release Thursday. "Gary is an exceptional shooter and Luke is a veteran point guard who can help us off the bench. They both have significant postseason experience so they know how to get where we're trying to go. We look forward to adding them to our rotation."
Bucks coach Larry Drew said Neal was in a tough situation playing behind younger players after being with a successful team in San Antonio.
He said Charlotte will be a good fit, as center Al Jefferson will require double teams and help free up Neal for open 3-pointers.
"That, I think, is a great situation for the both of them," Drew said. "You look at what they have in Jefferson, a guy that certainly can command a double-team, it opens it up. He can stretch the defense."
Higgins called Sessions a true professional and thanked him for his effort in Charlotte.
Sessions was having a successful second season with the Bobcats, averaging 10.5 points and 3.7 assists per game. He started seven games with point guard Kemba Walker out with a sprained ankle and filled in well.
Sessions, who likes to drive to the hole and draw contact, has averaged at least 10 points per game in each of his last five seasons.
Adrien has seen limited action for the Bobcats and hasn't been in their rotation much in recent weeks. He has played in 25 games and averaged 2.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Bucks acquire two expiring contracts in the deal and will avoid paying Neal $3.5 million next season.
Charlotte was eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit, after Wednesday's games. The Bucks have the worst record in the NBA.
AP Sports Writer Genaro Armas in Phoenix contributed to this report.
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