Free agent Wes Matthews has officially signed a four-year, $70 million deal, the NBA max, with the Dallas Mavericks, the team announced Thursday.
Matthews had agreed to a four-year, $57-million deal on the condition that Jordan signed. For a few days, that all looked right, but with Jordan's spurning of Dallas, the Mavericks honored their original agreement. (Matthews had been willing to take less to help the Mavericks swing under the cap and nab them both.)
While this is the right thing for both sides, this only increases my nervousness about Matthews' Achilles rehab. Seven of the last 18 NBA players suffering the injury did not return to the NBA, which indicates just how career-altering an injury it can be. That's not to say Matthews won't fully recovery like the Mavericks expect -- especially considering he's well-known as a hard worker and tough player -- but it leaves them with razor thin margins of error. At $14 million or so a year when Jordan was on board, the Mavericks had more leeway if things turned out poorly with Matthews. Now they have none.
This is the price of signing a good player. I'm happy for Matthews, who's the absolute winner in this deal. Not only did he keep his word to return when personally offered an out by Mark Cuban (although in retrospect, no wonder he took the money), he still got the NBA payday he deserved and that we thought the injury had stolen from him.
Now just pray this works out.