Coming off a season-ending Achilles injury, the Portland Trail Blazers elected to let free agent guard Wesley Matthews bolt this summer.
Matthews spent the last five seasons in Rip City, becoming a fan favorite, and admits that he was deeply hurt when the franchise didn’t make him an offer to stay.
The Dallas Mavericks quickly pounced, inking the versatile 28-year-old to a four-year, $70 million deal.
Per The Oregonian:
He had hoped he could return to the city that had embraced him, to the team with players he considered brothers, to the franchise where he grew into one of the NBA’s most well-rounded and respected shooting guards. […] But in the end, after five seasons, the feeling was not mutual. He was greeted with silence. No phone call. No text messages. The Blazers never made an offer.
“I was pissed off,” Matthews said. “I felt disrespected.” […] He believed he was a viable option for teams, even as he continued to rehabilitate a ruptured left Achilles tendon suffered in March. In the days leading up to free agency, Matthews’ camp released video to ESPN showing him jogging in place, utilizing lateral movement and shooting jumpers. He was, he wanted the league to know, ahead of the eight-month recovery time estimated by doctors.
The only chance the Blazers would pursue Matthews, top executive Neil Olshey later explained, was if free agent LaMarcus Aldridge chose to return, maintaining Portland as a playoff-caliber team. When Aldridge chose San Antonio, the Blazers decided to rebuild. Paying big money to a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off major surgery didn’t make long-term sense. […] “I was angry,” Matthews said, “but I also realize that this is a business.”