I'm not talking about Jack 'The Goose' Givens either. Feel free to also insert your Lake Eola jokes. Gustavo Ayon is his name. You have to be a fairly solid 27-year-old rookie to earn a nickname immediately. Unless you watched a few Hornets games last season, not many of you will know what his game is like. Rob Hennigan's defenders are already referring to this as a San Antonio Spurs type of move. New Orleans media and fans seem to adore 'Goose'. A big reason was the adversity and patience he displayed in eventually navigating his way to very important playing minutes in the Lockout-shortened 2011-2012 campaign. Ayon only makes $1.5 million per season, and we have a team option on Gustavo for that same amount in the 2013-2014 season. Draft Express absolutely rave about Ayon. The Mexican isn't a flashy player by any means, but he's tough, is crafty in the paint, can pass well for his position, likes being completely unselfish, is actively always moving around on both ends, has underrated leaping ability, has superb quickness for his 6'10" and 250 pound frame, and can be a double-double threat if given the playing time. He's basically what Eduardo Najera would've been if he was a few inches taller. That's far from a bad thing. The Magic faced the Hornets once during the Lockout season. It was one too many. My insides still haven't recovered from seeing that butchering we took live and in person. Ayon didn't get much burn on that evening.
Ayon was a 2007 & 2009 Mexican League All-Star Game participant. In his final season playing in Spain before joining the Hornets, 'Goose' won the ACB Rising Star Award. So in a way we traded one Most Improved Player for another. Conditioning is the main issue with Gustavo. Orlando is always known for great physical fitness training thanks to Joe Rogowski. If Ayon's playing potential is as high as his needed improvement of English, this will be a wonderful acquisition. His Spanish sounds competent enough to me. Let's hope Gustavo can continue shooting above 50% from the field for us. Don't expect a huge influx of Mexicans showing up to Amway Center. There is zero debate in comparing the Mexican's acquisition to Carlos Arroyo's Magic joining and seeing all the Puerto Rican support that flocked over to the O-Rena for him. Hopefully all fans will love Ayon when it's all said and done. 'Goose' is athletic enough to play power forward, but his true calling (and what the Magic will need) is help at the center position. Whether that's somehow as a starter or a backup is yet to be determined.
Hennigan's stockpiling of big men in the Draft was the main legitimate indication of Ryno not coming back. Will that mean Glen Davis gets dealt as well? Tough to say, but the Magic have a logjam of large bodies. Along with Baby, add Earl Clark, Andrew Nicholson (Who could start now), Kyle O'Quinn, Ayon, Dwight (obviously getting traded for Brook Lopez or Andrew Bynum), Justin Harper, Hedo Turkoglu (though he's a small forward). Then you add Summer League guys like Magnum Rolle trying to get a training camp invite. Can't also ever forget international men like Fran Vazquez and Milovan Rakovic. A slew of size. Glen makes $6.5 million per season. Almost a bargain now the way this free agency has gone. The only reason I'd trade Davis is if Rob can also unload a bad contract along with Baby. All I know is that the Magic still need wing and scoring help. However, this offseason is just beginning. We're nowhere near Fall just yet. Overall, I approve of this 'Henny' acquisition of Gustavo Ayon. It'll be intriguing to see the 'Goose' get loose. Once again, best of luck Ryno. You will be greatly missed by the Amway Center faithful and rest of the Orlando Magic community. Magic media can't be too thrilled either. Ryno was a pure riot.