The Dallas Mavericks and Wesley Matthews are in a tough situation and a solution might not be coming soon.
Four years, $70 million.
On July 9, 2015, Wesley Matthews signed with the Dallas Mavericks for this exact amount. An amount that was questioned by some because of his recent Achilles injury at the time, but an amount the Mavs were willing to give after DeAndre Jordan backed out to head back to Los Angeles.
Now, three games into the third year of the deal, both sides would probably agree it hasn’t went the best.
In Matthews’ first year in Dallas, his true ‘Iron Man’ self came out as he appeared in 78 games in the season right after tearing his Achilles in the spring. He finished fourth on the team in scoring at 12.5 ppg and shot 36% from behind the arc.
Last year, his second season post Achilles injury, Matthews appeared in 73 games and put up 13.5 ppg and shot 36% from behind the arc.
Even though he hasn’t missed a large amount of games due to injury, both his scoring average and three-point percentage were the lowest in Dallas than his previous six seasons in Portland.
Now, in his third season in Dallas and his third season post Achilles injury, Wesley Matthews is the second highest paid player on the team, but isn’t playing near the level he is getting paid to play at.
The Mavericks have opened the season 0-3 after losses to the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets. During these first three games, here are some notable statistics from Wesley Matthews.
-He is shooting 26% from the field and 31% from behind the arc.
-He is 7-for-22 from behind the arc.
-He is ranked 110th in the league in three-point percentage.
-His plus/minus through three games is -15.
-He is ranked 14th in the league in turnovers by averaging 3.7 turnovers a game.
-He has 11 turnovers through three games.
-He is averaging 8.7 points in 33.8 minutes a game.
For someone like myself that has been proclaiming this season to be Matthews’ best in Dallas, he isn’t helping my case by performing the way he has over the first three games of the season. At this pace, it looks like it’s getting worse.
Yes, Dennis Smith Jr. has missed the past two games and Seth Curry has yet to play this regular season, but this isn’t any excuse for the play of Matthews considering the cap hit he has on the books.
So what does Dallas and Wesley Matthews do moving forward?
If Dallas continues to lose and project to be picking in the top ten once again, then committing a big chunk of your cap space to a struggling 31-year-old might not be the best option. But can they get a lot for him on the trade market?
Even though Matthews is in the third year of his deal making $17.8 million this season, he has a player option this summer for $18.6 million that most people assume he will be picking up. You can’t imagine he would get that number on the open market.
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Because of the player option that basically locks Matthews in for another year at $18.6 million, teams will be weary about taking on that much money from a struggling vet. But that doesn’t mean a playoff team with another bigger contract might be wanting more wing depth for a playoff run.
Either way, it’s a tough situation for both parties.
For the ultimate competitor in Matthews, this is beyond frustrating as he is pushing three years since his Achilles injury and he isn’t back to where he used to be before the injury. Not only that, but his start to the 2017-18 season makes it seem as if he is regressing.
For the Dallas Mavericks, the rebuild is in full effect and Matthews is the second highest paid player on the team. Even though his perimeter defense and locker room presence is extremely valuable, exploring the trade market for him seems inevitable.
But will anyone bite considering the money?
It might not even matter because Dallas has been adamant about the positive impact Matthews has on the team. Will that stance change as the season goes along? Nobody knows.
Things aren’t going as planned for Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks….and a solution might not be coming soon.