Wesley Matthews immediately became a hot commodity around the league on Sunday after declining his player option with the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2020-21 NBA season. The 34-year-old knockdown shooter left a rather modest $2.7 million on the table, which isn’t surprising considering he could earn more and wind up with a contender of his own choosing.
Matthews, after all, will have no shortage of suitors looking to avail his 3-and-D expertise. After four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, Matthews bounced around three teams in the Eastern Conference in the last two years. The 6-foot-4 guard notched 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game last season, all the while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from downtown in 67 games as a starter for Milwaukee.
While those numbers aren’t exactly noteworthy, Matthews is the type of role player needed by championship-seeking teams thanks to his ability to stretch the floor and play hard-nosed defense.
The Bucks would surely like to bring the veteran back in the fold, But if he truly wants to go elsewhere, let’s have a look at three of the best landing spots for Wesley Mathews when free agency officially opens on Nov. 20.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers already had an interest in Wesley Matthews since last summer before he agreed to sign with the Bucks. Now that he is a free man again, the Lakers have once again emerged as a top destination for the two-way guard. The reigning NBA champions jumped the gun early with their offseason movement, acquiring Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder, in large part due to the expected departure of Rajon Rondo in free agency.
Matthews, meanwhile, would be an ideal replacement for Danny Green, who’s set to go to the Thunder in the Schroder trade. Matthews would bring a similar game to Los Angeles, but at a much more reasonable price. Plus, Matthews is likely looking to hop aboard another strong title contender if he decides to leave Milwaukee.
The Lakers still have one of the strongest cases for a repeat next season, and Matthews would be wise to accept their invitation this time around.
Speaking of contenders, Wesley Matthews could actually stay put in the East and join another star-studded team if he elects to sign with Brooklyn. With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant attracting all the defensive attention in the world, Matthews would have a field day with all those open 3-pointers while playing for a new head coach in Steve Nash.
With Irving not being the strongest defender in the world, the Nets would lean on Matthews to defend the opposing team’s best backcourt player. A potential blockbuster trade for James Harden would obviously shake up the Nets’ roster, but Matthews would be a valuable addition no matter what happens on that front. His skill set is perfect for complementing star players.
The Sixers would also be a good choice for Wesley Matthews. The former Marquette standout is definitely the type of player that new Sixers head coach Doc Rivers loved having on his previous teams.
Philly has needed more shooting for a while, and that’s especially true now that analytics master Daryl Morey is now in charge of basketball operations. Matthews is cut out for Morey’s preferred style, considering he can knock those long balls with ease and is versatile enough to play multiple positions. Matthews would fit well playing alongside Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.