From Yahoo Sports! Adrian Wojnarowski’s report:
The Blazers offered their full midlevel exception in a frontloaded contract that includes a $9.2 million payday in the first year in hopes it would be too expensive for the Jazz to match and keep Matthews, the source said. The Blazers had considered making an offer to Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar(notes), sources said, but turned to Matthews after a meeting with him on Friday.
Matthews signed the offer sheet Saturday in Las Vegas. The Jazz will have seven days to match.
The Blazers had been rumored to be after Matthews from the start of free agency, so the offer sheet and signing should be not be a surprise. The head-scratching part is giving the full Mid-Level Exception to a guy who doesn’t have currently have a spot in the rotation. If anything, Blazer fans should be encouraged that despite the lack of a GM the Blazers are not incapable of making moves and have some sort of vision. By front-loading the contract Portland is either trying to poison the Jazz for the 2nd consecutive season OR just out-bid them. Only time will tell.
Obviously, Portland really wanted Matthews. With Morrow, Korver, Redick, etc. all off the market the Blazers had to act fast. Two areas the Blazers targeted in the off-season were a perimeter player who could shoot. Matthews’ ability to defend on the perimeter and shoot the ball are highly valued by the Blazers. Not to mention his toughness, I mean this is a rookie who earned a starting job under Jerry Sloan. He seems like the type of player that would fit right in with Nate McMillan’s philosophy. The move adds talent to Portland’s perimeter, gives them another asset and boosts their overall talent. Rudy Fernandez becomes more expendable and Luke Babbitt could have time to develop without pressure.
That being said, I can’t help but wonder if there is another move behind Door #3.