When DeAndre Jordan reneged on his agreement to sign with Dallas this summer, the Mavs were so out of sorts that they almost allowed their other high-profile free-agent signing to slip through their fingers as well.
According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Dallas gave Wesley Matthews the opportunity to walk away from the four-year, $57 million offer sheet they extended to him after Jordan’s stunning reversal. Here’s more from Bucher on their (rather convoluted) rationale for that:
“But then what really threw them for a loop is when Jordan decided to go back to L.A., and the Mavericks upped the ante and said, you know what Wes, we’ll give you $70 million for four years. Why would the Mavericks do that? Sources tell me it’s because when they were originally talking to Wes and trying to get him to come to Dallas and afraid that the Sacramento Kings offer of four years, $64 million was going to lure him away, they said look, we’d love to make you a max-type guy. We’d love to pay you more than the Kings, but we can’t because we have DeAndre coming, and we want to pair you guys together. So when DeAndre made his decision, they told Wes, if you wanna back out, we understand. Matthews and his representation said oh no no no. We’re good. We still wanna come. But remember when you said you’d pay us the max if you could? Well it looks like you can. So we’d like that deal instead.”
Bucher goes onto to (justifiably) question the wisdom of handing Matthews such an enormous contract so soon after a devastating Achilles tendon rupture ended his season prematurely and torpedoed the Trail Blazers’ postseason designs. But the alternative – losing both of their marquee free agent signings – would have arguably been just as bad, considering the public relations nightmare that would have inevitably followed such a debacle.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban has insisted that he doesn’t expect too much from Matthews this season since his convalescence could potentially extend well into the regular season, but make no mistake that Matthews will be under tremendous pressure to become a productive player for Dallas sooner rather than later.