In a somewhat expected move, the Bucks opted to waive forward Gustavo Ayon on Thursday, in turn shedding $1.5 million in salary next season.
Had Milwaukee not made the move, Ayon’s contract would have become guaranteed next season, further adding to the cash-strapped not at all cash-strapped Bucks’ payroll.
Ayon came to Milwaukee as a part of the J.J. Redick trade deadline deal that sent Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih to Orlando. The league’s lone Mexican player, Ayon appeared in just 12 games for Milwaukee, averaging 4.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Near the end of last season, Ayon voiced his displeasure toward his role and even threatened to play overseas unless his minutes increased. He was a part of the Bucks’ Las Vegas Summer League squad but was limited to just three games due to a groin injury.
Ayon has proven to be a valuable NBA commodity, starting 24 games for the Hornets in 2011-12, but with John Henson, Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh, Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia already under contract in the frontcourt, he simply would not have cracked the regular rotation. Should he clear waivers as expected, Ayon will be able to sign on with a team that can better utilize his strengths – interior defense, passing and rebounding. It’s also a possibility the 28-year-old could look to play in Europe or Latin America.
For Milwaukee fans, the move is bittersweet. “The Goose” developed into somewhat of a fan favorite during his short tenure in the Cream City, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I’ll miss his exclusively-Spanish Twitter fan account (@GustavoAyonFans) that is always good for a cheap retweet.
On paper, Milwaukee’s frontcourt is shaping up rather nicely, and the move should open up more playing time for Henson, who could be poised for a breakout year after an encouraging close to the 2012-13 season and strong summer league showing. Another big man signing is likely in play for the Bucks, but the free agent list continues to dwindle by the day, and the spotlight is now shining exclusively on the Brandon Jennings standoff that is the team’s point guard situation.