Speaking on his podcast The Woj Pod, ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski talked with Bobby Marks about potential buyout candidates. Woj touched on players like Robin Lopez, Anthony Tolliver and Zach Randolph, but he also pondered the future of Mavericks’ guard Wesley Matthews:
“And Wesley Matthews in Dallas, who they’ve been trying to trade since last year. Now he’s an expiring deal. If he doesn’t end up in a trade, is he a buyout player for the Mavericks? Is he available to teams?”
First, Woj confirmed what has been reported during the summer: The Mavericks have tried to move Matthews. Dallas reportedly tried to package Matthews in a draft night deal to swap picks with the Atlanta Hawks and land Luka Doncic. However, the Hawks were insistent on receiving a future first rather than receive Matthews expiring deal and dump Kent Bazemore. Then, Dallas tried to negotiate a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Clippers with Wesley Matthews as the headliner in exchange for DeAndre Jordan. Talks fell through, so the Mavericks had to use the majority of their cap space to sign Jordan.
Second, Woj appears to question if the Mavericks could buy out Matthews if they fail to move him before the trade deadline. Now 32, the 10-year veteran is averaging 16 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent shooting from three. Matthews was thrust into a larger than anticipated offensive role early on with Harrison Barnes missing time but began to settle in as a floor spacer in recent games. However, a nagging hamstring injury has kept him out for four of the last five games.
Fortunately for the Mavericks (and potentially unfortunately for Matthews) Dorian Finney-Smith has performed exceptionally in his stead. The 25-year-old is experiencing a breakout season shooting 42 percent from deep and hounding the opposition on the defensive end.
Matthews is a favorite of the organization for his intangibles and locker room presence, but it’s been clear for the past three seasons that he is not the player Dallas hoped for when the organization signed him to a four-year, $70 million deal in 2015. His ability to recover from a ruptured Achilles is impressive in its own right, but it’s evident that injury robbed him of any explosiveness he had.
The trade deadline is months away, but Woj is usually sniffing player movement out well before anyone else. Matthews’ time in Dallas might end a few months earlier than expected.