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A possible swap between Real Madrid and Panathinaikos?
Source: Marca

One of the protagonists of the match between Real Madrid and Panathinaikos will be Mario Hezonja, who could return to the Athenian team next season. The Croatian is finishing his contract and according to some Greek media, he would have an offer from Panathinaikos on his table for three seasons and two million net a year, figures that Real Madrid does not seem willing to reach.

The 2.06 m forward, who turned 28 on Sunday, is out of contract, and the white club would like to continue counting on him, but not at any price. In the Euroleague, he has played 25 games (8 starts) with averages of 13 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 12.8 efficiency in 21:36 minutes on average. And in the ACB, he has played 20 games (6 starts) with similar averages: 11.5+4.5+1.2 and 12.3 rating in 21:54 minutes on average.

Real Madrid would need to find a replacement if Hezonja were to leave for the PAO. In that scenario, Usman Garuba's return would be their ideal choice, but the power forward's top goal is to continue in the NBA. Another option is Juancho Hernangómez, who has one year remaining on his contract. However, the PAO might be able to help him leave, particularly if they are successful in signing Hezonja.

The 2.06-meter, 28-year-old forward from Madrid is as versatile as the Croatian, but he is having a hard time fitting in with the Greek team, where he averages 4.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists and a PIR of 6.3 in the 19 Euroleague games he has played in 17:20 minutes per game. And in 11 games in the Hellenic League, his averages are 9.3+6.3+0.9 and a rating of 11.8.

One of the top goals for the current section leaders has been to assemble a team that includes as many of the best Spanish players as possible since they took over, due to the quota issue and, more importantly, philosophical reasons, as a result of the increased fan identification with the top national players. Felipe Reyes, Llull, Rudy Fernández, and Sergio Rodríguez are a few examples. For Juancho, too, it would be a welcome change of scenery and a fantastic chance to get back on track. But to achieve this, he would have to cut his emoluments significantly, since in the PAO he makes approximately 2.2 million annually. It is difficult for Real Madrid, who are working to extend the contracts of Tavares and Poirier.


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