The Milwaukee Bucks reportedly picked up the $1.5 million team option for power forward/center Gustavo Ayon. This is a move that may surprise many, but the Bucks certainly had a good reason to keep Ayon on the roster.
The 28-year-old has only been in the league for two seasons, which means he still has a lot of time to grow into a decent player. Milwaukee believes he has potential, which is why they are willing to hang on to him for at least one more year. More importantly, the Bucks will most likely allow backup center Samuel Dalembert to walk in free agency. That means the purpose of signing Ayon is to be the new backup for starting center Larry Sanders.
Milwaukee acquired Ayon in a deal with the Orlando Magic at the end of the NBA trade deadline this past season. Guard Ish Smith and him were the smaller pieces in the trade that allowed the Bucks to get shooting guard J.J. Redick. Milwaukee sent forward Tobias Harris, guard Doron Lamb and guard Beno Udrih to Orlando. If the Bucks are unable to sign Redick in free agency, it will be all up to Ayon to prove that trading Harris away was not a colossal mistake.
Ayon performed better in Milwaukee than he did with Orlando last season. He averaged 4.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 13.6 minutes per game in 12 contests. He also managed to convert 59.5 percent of his 3.5 field goal attempts per game.
The fact is Ayon is not as good as a defensive player as the other big men on the team. However, he has shown potential on offense, which certainly intrigues the Bucks.