Report: Wes Matthews to Decline $2.7M Bucks Contract Option Amid Lakers Rumors

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks guard Wesley Matthews (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-95. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Wesley Matthews' time with the Milwaukee Bucks appears to be over.

The Marquette product will decline to exercise his $2.7 million player option for the 2020-21 campaign to become a free agent, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Sunday.

This comes after Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Los Angeles Lakers were interested in bringing Matthews aboard as a potential replacement for Danny Green.

Matthews has played for a number of teams during his career, which started in 2009-10 when he was a member of the Utah Jazz. He has since suited up for the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Bucks.

While Matthews was not as consistent of a scorer in 2019-20 as he was in his prime, he averaged double-figure scoring totals nine straight seasons following his rookie campaign. He scored as many as 16.4 points a night in 2013-14 when he was on the Trail Blazers and even posted 12.2 points per game in 2018-19 when he played for three teams.

It was with that resume as a backdrop that the Bucks signed him heading into a championship-or-bust 2019-20 season. The move made sense considering Matthews is someone who can take advantage of the spacing created by playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo with his outside shooting and relieve some of the defensive pressure on his teammates.

Matthews held opponents to 4.9 percent worse shooting than their normal averages last season, per NBA.com, which helped make up for his own drop in offensive production. He was still a solid outside shooter at 36.4 percent, but his scoring fell to 7.4 points per game behind 39.6 percent shooting from the field.

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Matthews is past his prime at 34 years old, but he is still a capable rotational piece because of his solid defense and outside shooting. If he can maintain those skills while other players carry the offense, he can help the Lakers or whichever team he joins compete for a playoff spot in 2020-21.