Gustavo Ayon

And-Ones: Josh Smith, Draft, Free Agency, Ayon

Josh Smith had an ugly debut in the Big3 last night, writes J.L. Kirven of The Detroit Free Press. Smith was loudly booed by a Detroit crowd that hasn’t forgiven him for his short stay with the Pistons, then got tossed from the game after a skirmish with Royce White.

Smith, 33, is part of a fresh influx of talent in the league, playing his last NBA games during the 2017/18 season. However, Detroit was probably the worst city for him to start on the BIG3’s revolving tour. He lasted just a season and a half there after signing a four-year, $54MM deal in 2013. The Pistons used the stretch provision to unload him, and he won’t come off their payroll until collecting another $5,331,729 next season.

“I enjoyed the intensity and the passion,” Reggie Theus, his BIG3 coach, said after the game. “Obviously he’s got to contain himself …”

 There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:
  • Fewer than half of the underclassmen who entered this year’s NBA draft were selected, prompting Michael Rand and Marcus Fuller of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune to examine whether players are benefiting from the current system. Rand contends an expanded G League and the addition of two-way contracts have created more opportunities for undrafted players. Fuller defends the rights of underclassmen to pursue their dreams of playing professionally even if they turn out to be bad decisions.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN takes a look at the 13 teams with cap space, including nine with $20MM or more, that are positioned to make big moves as the free agency sweepstakes kicks off next Sunday. The Nuggets, Magic and Sixers could join that list, but only if they renounce significant free agents.
  • Mexican center Gustavo Ayon is leaving Real Madrid and wants another shot at the NBA, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Ayon, 34, spent time with the Hornets, Magic, Bucks and Hawks, but hasn’t played in the league since the 2013/14 season. “I don’t know if it is a farewell. Today I don’t have any offer,” Ayon said. “I want to go back to the NBA. It is a personal desire.” Jordan Mickey, who played for the Celtics and Heat, may replace Ayon if he leaves, writes Alessandro Maggi of Sportando.
  • Former Bucks, Pelicans and Jazz guard Nate Wolters has signed with Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, Carchia reports. He spent this season with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania.

International Notes: Raduljica, Goudelock, Randolph

Serbian big man Miroslav Raduljica has officially inked a two-year deal with the Italian Club Olimpia Milano, Novosti.rs relays (Translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando), confirming an earlier report from international journalist David Pick. Raduljica last appeared in the NBA during the 2014/15 campaign, playing in five games for the Timberwolves and averaging 1.6 points and 1.0 rebound in 4.6 minutes per game. His shooting line was .375/.000/1.000. The big man reportedly turned down a minimum salary offer from the Wizards prior to heading overseas, according to Pick.

Here are a few more international notes:

  • Point guard Andrew Goudelock has a contract offer on the table from the Turkish club Galatasaray, Pick reports (via Twitter). The Rockets had cut ties with Goudelock earlier this month, a move made in advance of August 1st, when his salary of $1,015,696 for 2016/17 would have become fully guaranteed. Goudelock appeared in just eight games after signing with the Rockets in March when he completed his season in China. He averaged 2.8 points and 0.5 assists in 6.3 minutes per outing, shooting .450/.111/.750 from the field.
  • Former NBA player Anthony Randolph has signed with Spanish power Real Madrid, Pick reports (Twitter link). The 26-year-old last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 campaign when he played in 43 games for the Nuggets and averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.3 minutes.
  • Former Hawks big man Gustavo Ayon has agreed to a three-year contract extension with Real Madrid, Euroleague.net reports. Ayon last appeared in the NBA during the 2012/13 season.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, White, Hawks

All five Southeast Division teams made official moves Thursday. Check out our transactions log for a full recap of the first day following the July Moratorium. Here’s more from around the division:

  • Goran Dragic never spoke with other teams during his free agency, tweets Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. Dragic wanted to remain in Miami and believes in team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra, Lieser adds, and he was willing to give the Heat a discount to make it happen. “I could get more [money], but it doesn’t matter,” Dragic said, as Lieser relays (Twitter links). “The most important thing is that I’m happy, and I’m happy to be here and surrounded with all the coaches and all the players. I don’t want to be miserable on the court.”
  • The Wizards could receive an outside shooting boost this season from Aaron White, whom the team selected with the No. 49 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, writes Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com. Speaking about being drafted by Washington, White said, “I love this fit for me. Their style fits in my style. It should be a good match.
  • The Hawks renounced their rights to Elton Brand and John Jenkins to clear cap space Thursday for their flurry of official moves, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They also renounced DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic, who’ve signed elsewhere, and Gustavo Ayon, whose rights they’d retained even though he signed a multiyear deal overseas this past September.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Gustavo Ayon Signs With Real Madrid

SEPTEMBER 23RD: The deal is official, the Spanish ACB league announced (on Twitter; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The tweet indicates that it’s a two-year contract, rather than a three-year arrangement as originally reported.

SEPTEMBER 19TH: Former Hawks big man Gustavo Ayon has agreed to sign with Real Madrid, according to Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi (on Twitter).  Ayon’s contract will be for three years, which is the deal the two sides initially agreed to before his FC Barcelona buyout got in the way.  The agreement was first reported by Spanish language outlet Solobasket.

Ayon actually agreed to a deal with Real Madrid earlier this month but FC Barcelona blocked the pact since they held his European rights.  The club insisted on a $376K buyout, but the club said yesterday that Ayon was free to sign wherever he wanted to.  It’s still not clear if Ayon wrote the check for the buyout, as he said he was willing to do, or if the club simply reliquished its hold on him.

The Spurs and Shandong of China both made formal offers to Ayon but the Real Madrid deal is presumably more lucrative.  Shandong has since moved on as they agreed to sign Miroslav Raduljica earlier today.

Ayon is coming off a three-year, $4.5MM contract he signed with New Orleans shortly after the lockout.  He wound up heading to the Magic and Bucks before spending last season with the Hawks, who made him an unrestricted free agent this summer when they declined to tender a qualifying offer.

And-Ones: Chandler, Taylor, Heat, Ayon

The Knicks’ Phil Jackson had upset Tyson Chandler with comments he made regarding changing the culture of the franchise and removing any parts that have had a negative influence. But Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders doesn’t believe Jackson’s comments were directed at Chandler, but instead at J.R. Smith and the departed Raymond Felton. Blancarte also notes that Chandler’s issues were with former head coach Mike Woodson, not the franchise, and that Jackson traded Chandler so they wouldn’t lose him for nothing when he left as a free agent next Summer.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

Western Notes: McCalebb, Ayon, Bledsoe, Mavs

Kobe Bryant may not retire following the last two years on his contract with the Lakers, but he is eyeing an ownership stake in the Italian soccer team Bologna FC 1909, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (translation via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times). Here’s more from around the West:

  • Bo McCalebb is in discussions with two teams in the Western Conference, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). This isn’t the first we’ve heard of interest in the 29-year-old Euroleague star point guard. McCalebb is a free agent and wouldn’t require a buyout to join an NBA team for training camp or beyond.
  • The Spurs had offered Gustavo Ayon the veteran’s minimum of $981,084 before the big man chose to sign overseas, Pick tells Hoops Rumors.
  • In a reader chat response, Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders wonders whether the Wolves will seek a third team to facilitate a sign-and-trade for Eric Bledsoe. Minnesota offered a max deal to the Suns restricted free agent, but Phoenix is reportedly uninterested in shipping him out for anyone on Minnesota’s roster.
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the Mavericks‘ suddenly crowded backcourt, with incoming veterans in Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton joining a roster already featuring Monta Ellis and Devin Harris. The team believes the players can coexist without any drama in coach Rick Carlisle‘s system. “A team can never have too many playmakers,” Carlisle said. “They can all play with or without the ball, so in my mind, they aren’t just point guards, they’re basketball players.” 

Gustavo Ayon Mulls Offers From Spurs, China

THURSDAY, 7:40am: FC Barecelona exec Joan Creus tells Spanish journalist Alex Gozalbo (translation via Sportando on Twitter) that Ayon is not tied to the club anymore and he is free to sign wherever he wants.  It’s not immediately clear whether Ayon has paid the tab on his own buyout as he said he would do yesterday or if they have simply allowed him to break his contract.

Despite the offers from the Spurs and China, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia writes that Ayon is likely to sign a three-year pact with Real Madrid.  The veteran and Real Madrid shook hands on a deal before FC Barcelona interfered.

WEDNESDAY, 10:57pm: Ayon has told FC Barcelona that he’s willing to foot the bill for the buyout himself, according to Javier Maestro of Encestando, who adds that Real Madrid’s three-year offer is still on the table. The Spurs are offering less than $1MM, while Shandong’s offer is adequate, Maestro also reports (Twitter links; translation via HoopsHype).

1:10pm: The Spurs and Shandong of China have made formal offers to Gustavo Ayon, who’s debating between them and playing in Europe this season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter links). Ayon reportedly had a deal in place with Real Madrid, but Spanish rival FC Barcelona holds his European rights, and their insistence on a buyout worth roughly $376K has thrown a wrench in those plans.

The Spurs have consistently shown interest in Ayon for the past couple of weeks, with an initial report having surfaced late last month and another dispatch from this weekend that indicated that San Antonio was still in the mix. Ayon is one of several players the team is considering for its final regular season roster spot, including Michael Beasley, who’s reportedly working out for Spurs officials in San Antonio this week. The Spurs have Bryce Cotton, Josh Davis and JaMychal Green on deals with nominal partial guarantees as well as 14 fully guaranteed pacts.

Ayon is coming off a three-year, $4.5MM contract he signed with New Orleans shortly after the lockout. He wound up heading to the Magic and Bucks before spending last season with the Hawks, who made him an unrestricted free agent this summer when they declined to tender a qualifying offer. Atlanta hasn’t appeared interested in bringing him back, with the Spurs seemingly the only NBA club in pursuit.

And-Ones: World Cup, Ayon, Budenholzer, Hill

Support is growing stronger to make both the Olympics and the World Cup of Basketball solely for players age 22 and under, one NBA GM tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who bemoans an existing system that he believes to primarily benefit Mike Krzyzewski. The change would take effect for 2018 World Cup, Wojnarowski writes. SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues that while the NBA could work with FIBA to implement an age limit, FIBA has shown hesitancy to cooperate, and that the players union would have a case that any league-imposed restriction should be collectively bargained. Nonetheless, it seems there’s a decent chance that even without so many A-level stars, this year’s World Cup champion Team USA squad will be significantly more talented than the next American entry into the competition. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Shandong of China has jumped into the race for Gustavo Ayon as his European rights remain up in the air, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. The Spurs are reportedly still in the mix, with Ayon needing to come up with $376K to pay FC Barcelona, which holds his European rights, if he’s to put pen to paper on a deal with Spanish rival Real Madrid.
  • Mike Budenholzer has never held an NBA front-office job, but he played as much of a role in talent acquisition for the Spurs as anyone outside of Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford during his time in San Antonio, writes TNT’s David Aldridge amid his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Budenholzer is in charge of player personnel for the Hawks while GM Danny Ferry is on indefinite leave.
  • A group that included Grant Hill as well as billionaires Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh made a strong impression on the league when they put up a $1.2 billion bid to purchase the Clippers this spring, Aldridge writes in the same piece. The TNT scribe speculates that they could resurface as contenders for the Hawks.

And-Ones: Rubio, Ayon, Garnett, Karasev

Wolves guard Ricky Rubio told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that he never tried to talk Kevin Love out of asking for a trade.  “If he wanted to leave, there’s no reason to talk to him about it,” Rubio said. “I really liked playing with him, but I’ll play with the players who want to be there. Kevin wants to win. That’s normal. He’s been there six years without the playoffs. I understand. If I was in the same situation – being one of the best players in the league – and not being able to be in the playoffs, I’d have a lot of frustration, too.”  When asked about his own future, Rubio said that he is “loyal” and wants to give back to the organization.  The guard can be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension. Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..

  • The Spurs continue to eye center Gustavo Ayon, tweets Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net. Ayon is reportedly on his way to play for Spain’s Real Madrid, but no deal with the team can become official until he comes up with the equivalent of about $376K to pay off Spanish rival FC Barcelona, which holds his European rights, according to Javier Maestro of Encestando (translation via HoopsHype).
  • There has been some retirement speculation surrounding Kevin Garnett but the veteran has been one of “about ten” players who have already been working out at the Nets‘ East Rutherford, New Jersey practice facility, team insiders tell Robert Windrem of Nets Daily.
  • Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily ran down the best pickups made by the Nets this offseason.  Trade acquisitions Sergey Karasev and Jarrett Jack make the list as well as 2011 first-round pick Bojan Bogdanovic.  Bogdanovic, 25, may be an NBA rookie but he comes with seven seasons of international experience and should be ready to hit the ground running.
  • According to his Pistons preview, Adi Joseph of USA TODAY has the franchise improving their win total slightly, but still missing the playoffs.

Gustavo Ayon To Play In Spain

TUESDAY, 10:43am: The contract will cover three seasons, Pick hears (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 3:09pm: It’s a multiyear deal, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com. There will be several outs in the contract, Pick hears, though it’s unclear whether any of them pertain to the NBA (Twitter links).

10:02am: Free agent center Gustavo Ayon has agreed to play for Real Madrid in Spain, reports Igor Minteguia of Solobasket.com (translation via HoopsHype). It’s not immediately clear just how lucrative the deal is or just what sort of escape clauses the contract will contain to allow him to return to the NBA sometime soon.

The Spurs had reportedly been interested in him, among other potential free agent targets, but overseas options had reportedly been proving more lucrative than any stateside offers for the Emilio Duran client. Ayon spent the past three seasons in the NBA after signing a three-year, $4.5MM deal with New Orleans shortly after the lockout. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game as a rookie but didn’t match those numbers in either of his next two seasons. It appeared he had an opportunity to head to China before Real Madrid gave him the chance to return to Spain, where he played before entering the NBA.

Former Raptors point guard Dwight Buycks, who signed with Valencia, also jumped to Spain this summer after having played in the NBA this past season. The 29-year-old Ayon will join fellow NBA veterans Andres Nocioni, Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez among the notable names on Madrid’s roster for the coming season.