Jan. 6, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 102-77. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect of Victor Oladipo Clouds Wesley Matthews' Future

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.

Should Portland shop Wesley Matthews to move up in the draft?

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Tags: Nba Draft Portland Trail Blazers Trade Victor Oladipo Wesley Matthews

  • http://twitter.com/kinakuta_james James Donaldson

    I would move Matthews in a trade to move up and get Oladipo, but I don’t see Phoenix’s motivation to do that. Oladipo shows promise as a perimeter shooter, so what makes Matthews more attractive to them than just drafting Oladipo themselves?

  • nbacooldudes

    I, too, am confused by Phoenix’s motivation (they couldn’t be less in a “win now” mode), but also the idea that the bench will suddenly be crowded. Yes, it’s a tight fit on those small NBA benches, but in terms of talent, there is and will still be plenty of room for contributors. No free agents intrigue me at the moment so I wouldn’t be too excited about creating cap space with a Matthews move, I’d be more interested in moving him and the pick.

    • David MacKay

      The Blazer bench, in totality, would not be crowded, but Portland would be very heavy at the shooting guard position (Matthews, Oladipo, Barton, Williams). As for Phoenix’s motivation, they possess only Jared Dudley as a legitimate perimeter threat and that’s saying a lot. Oladipo had a great season from beyond the arc, but it was preceded by two abysmal ones. I am unconvinced that his significant spike in ranged success will immediately carry over to the NBA 3. The Suns may not be in ‘win now’ mode, but they need a strong exterior presence in order to be competitive again. Wesley is only 4 years in, and will continue to grow, just starting far enough down the path to give Phoenix the edge they are missing. Consider that in his minimal role in Portland, Wes scored more per game than any Phoenix Sun this season. Being able to add a new leading scorer for sub $7M a year would be a step in the right direction for them. Oladipo does not, and in all likelihood will not, match Matthews’ scoring potential.

      • Steve

        Sorry dude, this shows how little you know of Phoenix’s motivation and clearly overvalue Matthew. Phoenix is not excited about the prospect of becoming mediocre in a hurry. They would rather suck for a few years and build up a base of talent and cap space until that talent is ready to make a leap, use their cap space and become a contender. No way they want to fight it out for any position around the NBA purgatory of 7-10 seed in the Western Conference. This would be like a Phoenix fan saying Portland would trade away LaMarcus for the Morris twins. Keep up the dream though, it takes all kinds of fans.

        • Guest

          You are entitled to believe that that is equivalent. Although I do agree that they are more likely to build a foundation of solid rookies than trade for Matthews. But as far as teams that Portland could trade with to be high enough to snag Oladipo go, Phoenix is up there, and any prospective deal would almost certainly include Wes.

          • Steve

            What happened to the rumor that Portland is interested in finding a starting center and trading their pick for one? If their is a trade to happen with Portland, it is more likely that Phoenix trades Gortat for the lottery pick. If Portland wants to move up to Phoenix pick, it would take a lot more than Wesley and their pick. They are in asset acquisition mode right now and Matthew doesn’t really fit that for Phoenix.

  • Jeffrey Hall

    I’d let Matthews go only if the Blazers received Gortat in compensation. Then drafting Olapido would make sense. Otherwise, I’d keep Matthews because he adds so much to the spirit of the team.

  • dunkonyerhed

    Matthews + 10th pick + (2) second rounders for Gortat and the 4th pick. I’d do it in a heartbeat. That leaves the Blazers enough room to bring on 2 very good free agents or make an uneven trade. Yes…all day. And I love Matthews on our team.