Mavs Hope To Harness 'Pissed Off' Wes
The source of Wes Matthews' ire -- and one reason he's now part of the Dallas Mavericks' present and future -- is Portland's decision to not make him part of theirs.
“I was pissed off,” Matthews tells the Oregonian. “I felt disrespected.''
When LaMarcus Aldridge opted to leave Portland for San Antonio, the Blazers opted for a rebuild. That meant not only dealing with the departure of the player who'd previously vowed to work to become the Best Blazer Ever (that would be Aldridge) but also dealing with the realities of price tags and impatience.
From a basketball business point of view, Portland's decision is understandable. If Aldridge stays, the Blazers would've pursued Matthews in an attempt to get him to stay. There would've been a way ... with Damian Lillard still a centerpiece, too ... and assuming Wes' health, the Blazers might've eventually been back to where they were before Matthews' Achilles injury in the spring: a dark-horse contender in the impossibly tough West.
But with no Aldridge, the Blazers decided to rebuild. ... around Lillard, not around a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off major surgery who already had a four-year, big-money offer on the table from Dallas.
Maybe the Blazers are a bit gun-shy on rehabbing players after having experienced heartaches in the form of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, though it's understandable if Matthews is bothered by the fact that Portland never even made a courtesy phone call to him. ... let alone an offer.
Matthews was a fan favorite in Portland, a leader in that locker room, and a second-tier star on the court as a classic 3-and-D guy ... exactly the sort of guy Dallas has been needing (though the max-money contract is off-putting to some). He was "Ironman'' in Portland, a nickname earned via his toughness and grit, attributes that serve him well as he vows to return to the court maybe even sooner than the early-December projections that make medical sense. Owner Mark Cuban pitched Matthews on the idea of being a "cornerstone'' of the future in Dallas. ... though that initial concept largely included DeAndre Jordan as an even larger cornerstone, and we all know how that worked out.
Maybe Matthews returns near the level of his pre-Achilles play. Maybe he becomes a fan favorite on a 2015-16 Dallas team that will provide excitement and promise and playoff contention. Maybe he joins Chandler Parsons next summer as a recruiter and a lure to help the Mavs add more "cornerstones.'' But in the meantime, he's motivated. He's working. He's pissed.
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