Report: Blazers guard Wesley Matthews seeking $15 million salary in free-agency
They always tell you to aim high in life. Whether it’s school or career advice, it’s a common refrain to reach for the stars. And according to one report, Wesley Matthews and his representation will reach as high as they possibly can when it comes to his salary in free-agency.
Sam Amick of USA Today reports that the free-agent shooting guard–who is coming off of one of, if not the most devastating injury for NBA players–is seeking a multi-year deal with a $15 million salary.
According to a person with knowledge of Matthews’ situation, he is seeking a multi-year deal that pays approximately $15 million annually. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of such discussions.
Free-agent guard Arron Afflalo is reportedly expected to opt-out of the final year of his deal and become a free-agent, freeing up nearly $8 million in cap space. Matthews made just over $7 million last season.
Blazers Presdent of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey expressed his concerns, drawing on personal experience seeing the rehabilitation of Chauncey Billups and Elton Brand from the same injury, in part two of Jason Quick’s “Rebuilding of Iron Man” series for The Oregonian.
According to Amick’s report, which you can read in full, the fact that the NBA’s new television deal will raise the salary cap is also playing into the way Matthews views himself. Nobody is quite sure how the rising cap will affect this free-agency, but Amick’s report gives more proof that players are well-aware of the impact the TV deal has on player salaries. And it seems like players and agents are not waiting until the cap officially goes up to in 2016-17 to get what they feel is a fair deal.
But Matthews is a particularly interesting case because of his injury. The track record of players coming back to resume their previous effectiveness from that injury is slim to none. Matthews’ rehab has been going ahead of schedule. But the difference between walking and shooting jumpers in the UCLA gym is far different from the elite defense and very good offense Matthews displayed this season. Matthews has consistently beat the odds and wears that fact every day, but this is a different beast.
It behooves Matthews and his representation to get as much as they can. That’s the name of the game. But the difference between what he and his agent feel like he is worth and what the market dictates is something we won’t be able go gauge until free-agency actually gets going.