Dwight Howard is gone and Gustavo Ayon is in for Orlando. For now.
Ayon isn’t near the same level but he played well as a rookie for the New Orleans Hornets last year, giving them an efficient 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds a game, with an above-average PER of 16.7. That’s an impressive start. He is going to have a larger role with the Magic next season to see if he can build off that.
Ayon is in the second year of his current deal — in theory he could be a free agent next summer, although it’s impossible to imagine the Magic not picking up the $1.5 million option for the season after next.
“I would be proud if I could return to Spain and go back to a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona. I prefer Madrid because I know the city better.”
He goes on to say he doesn’t know what will happen next summer so he is trying to enjoy this moment and this stage in Orlando.
This in no way means Ayon is gone as soon as he can be, he is not looking to pull a Dwight. But clearly the Mexican national is a guy who has options overseas and wouldn’t be afraid to use them. And for players, options mean leverage in talks.