The Utah Jazz found Wesley Mathews — an undrafted rookie who started 48 games for them last year.
But the Jazz are going to play Raja Bell’s tune next season. So Mathews is off to Portland, where he will be Brandon Roy’s backup. Portland had made an offer to Mathews for the mid-level exception of $5.8 million (with a bonus and a front-loaded deal as poison pills) and Utah has told him they will not match. Mathews was pretty pumped when he talked to FanHouse.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Matthews, who won’t start at shooting guard for Portland due to Brandon Roy but could unseat Nicolas Batum as the starting small forward. “It’s a great organization. Whether they want me to start or come off the bench, it’s fine with me. I can be a defender for them.”
Mathews has gone from undrafted, to making the Jazz on a one-year, rookie minimum deal ($427,163) to making more than No. 1 overall pick from last year Blake Griffin will make.
Last season Mathews averaged 9.4 points per game in almost 24 minutes of action. He shot 48 percent from the floor and a good 38 percent from three. He was their two-guard, the guy asked to cover Kobe Bryant in the second round of the playoffs. A guy given real responsibility by Jerry Sloan as a rookie.
He will help the Blazers, even if that is a pretty steep contract for a second-year backup wing player.