It appears that first-round draft pick center Lucas Nogueira will return to Spain for another season. I’m told that the Hawks’ waiver claim pick up of forward/center Gustavo Ayon “most likely” means that Nogueira will get another year overseas to work on his game and build his body.
Nogueira who turned 20 this month would have to fight for playing time in a crowded frontcourt that includes Al Horford Paul Millsap Elton Brand Pero Antic Mike Scott (non-guaranteed) and Ayon.
Second-round draft pick Mike Muscala will also most likely play elsewhere next season while the Hawks retain his rights.
Brand and Ayon are only guaranteed through next season and Millsap after two seasons.
The 7-foot Nogueira showed promised using his height and reach while playing for the Hawks in the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month. However at 225 pounds he was clearly out muscled on the boards by fellow draftees and others training to earn training camp invites.
The issue facing the Hawks was whether it would have been better for Nogueira’s development to play major minutes overseas or play limited minutes while on a weight-training program in Atlanta. The decision was aided by landing Ayon at a modest $1.5 million salary.
Nogueira said this month that his preference is to remain in the United States.