The Milwaukee Bucks made a somewhat confusing move Thursday, opting to release modestly productive center Gustavo Ayon just over a month after agreeing to pick up his $1.5 million contract for 2013-14.
Ayon, a 28-year-old Mexican native, hasn't looked bad in his two years in the league, especially on the glass. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 assists in his first year as a backup with the New Orleans Hornets, then 3.7 points and 3.6 boards in about 13 minutes a game between the Bucks and Orlando Magic last year. The 6'10 big man was especially competent after being dealt to Milwaukee, shooting 59.5 percent and grabbing 4.9 boards per game in very limited playing time.
It's not really certain what the Bucks' motivation for dropping Ayon is. Presumably, it's been forced by a crowded frontcourt; Ayon would have been a third-stringer behind Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia on a team that also features young big men Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and Ekpe Udoh. Still, they opted to guarantee his money for this year on June 24, now it's July 25, and the already questionable Pachulia signing seems even more puzzling.
This even makes the Bucks' decision to trade for J.J. Redick at last year's deadline seem like more of a trainwreck. With Redick dealt to the Clippers for second-round draft picks and Ayon gone, the only remaining player from the deal is Ish Smith. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris averaged 11.0 points per game and 5.2 rebounds this past season, only his second in the league. They gave up a promising player to rent Redick and Ayon, but ultimately whiffed on value.