Ever since he joined the Dallas Mavericks before the 2015-2016 season, Wesley Matthews has established himself as a leader, even though he has played alongside all-time great Dirk Nowitzki.
At the team’s media day in 2016, one season after he signed a four-year, $70,060,026 contract, he implied that he wanted to make a profound impact on the organization and its fan base.
"I think Mavericks fans don't yet know what I am fully about and how much I can help in every way,'' Matthews said at the time, per Mike Fisher of Scout.com. "They only saw me two times a year before I came here over the course of five years. And that's not a knock on Mavericks fans. But what they're about to see is what impact I can make, an impact beyond anybody thinking that the story of me is my contract.’'
Although the Mavs went 42-40 and made the playoffs in 2015-2016, they went 33-49 last year and are 16-32 this season. While a culture of winning might not endure Dallas' rebuild and Nowitzki's inevitable retirement, it’s obvious that the team still values Matthews and his lucrative salary, despite the fact that he’s averaging 12.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 34.5 minutes per contest.
In fact, they reportedly have a high asking price for him ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.
“It would take a first-round pick to get him, because Dallas sees him as one of its culture-setters, but league sources say that the Mavs would part with Wes Matthews before the Feb. 8 trade deadline if they can get a first in return,” Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Thursday.
On Friday, head coach Rick Carlisle explained how much Matthews has done behind the scenes in addition to on the court.
“Wes goes hard and he knows how to play. His skill set is underrated. He is a great shooter. By the time he is done he will be one of those guys in the top 6-8 all-time in three pointers made. I don’t have any doubt about that. He’s had a terrific year. In the midst of a season where we have a lot of games, his leadership has not wavered. He has really helped Dennis Smith and his development. He’s been mentoring young guys since he has been here. It’s great to see him have a night like the other night where he scores a lot of points. Unfortunately that’s the only thing that gets a lot of attention in this league. He is a very important guy for us. No question about that,” the coach said, per Isaac Harris of Mavs.com.
Therefore, offloading Matthews isn’t exactly going to be easy for the Mavericks, despite their clear incentive to do so. Since his salary is a bit inflated and doesn’t exactly line up with his production, Dallas’ asking price will now likely make moving him unrealistic.
But, it appears as though the Mavs wouldn't mind keeping him around if a first-rounder is out of the question.News Now - Sport News