As all 30 teams prepare for the 2013 NBA Draft, each will have tough decisions ahead of them. For Portland, one of these decisions revolves around starting shooting guard, Wesley Matthews. The Blazers currently hold what will likely be the 10th first round pick, but sources indicate that they may be looking to move up so they can draft Indiana’s Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is considered a top 5 prospect, and a very talented defensive guard.
This potential move would more than likely leave Wesley Matthews with a one-way ticket out of Portland. There is little sense in drafting a guard of Oladipo’s caliber just to bring him off of a crowded bench; and even less sense in benching Matthews to avoid such an option. Wesley is certainly valuable enough to receive some attention in the trade market, so who might be looking to make a deal?
The Phoenix Suns are projected to get the 4th pick in the draft lottery, right around where Oladipo will likely be selected. With the 3rd worst 3PT% in the NBA and a roster that seems compiled in the dark, Matthews would bring much needed efficiency to their squad. Who knows? Maybe the Blazers could finagle a deal for Phoenix center, Marcin Gortat, if they put a little more on the table.
Wesley is under contract with the Blazers for two more seasons and is owed a combined $14 million for them. While not a mammoth amount by NBA standards, that is still a chunk of change worth talking about. Phoenix has the need, the resources, and the space to acquire Matthews from Portland on draft night. Although I would personally hate to see him go, it could be just what the Blazers needs.
Let me explain where I’m coming from. Although Wesley is arguably worth more to Portland than yet another rookie, the difference between a veteran and a rookie contract should be taken into account. If the Blazers can unload Matthews’ $7M contract, they will have more money to spend on free agents. A Matthews/Oladipo swap would pay dividends if the price difference allowed Portland to bring in the pieces they need. Let’s not discount Victor either; he’d pay his own in due time.
So the Blazers stand at a crossroad. They can spin the wheel of fate in the name change, or they can pass and hone their existing skills. The draft can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For Wesley Matthews, it’s dangerously disguised.