Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Wesley Matthews plans to sign with Lakers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

After previous speculation, Wesley Matthews is reportedly joining the Los Angeles Lakers after one year with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks will now reportedly have a starting shooting guard vacancy to fill.

Shortly into Friday’s free agency period, The Athletic’s Shams Charania broke the news that Wesley Matthews reportedly plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The contract is reportedly a one-year deal worth $3.6 million and will see Matthews join the reigning NBA champions for the 2020-21 season.

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This news should not come as much of a surprise, as the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported last week that Los Angeles had their eye on Matthews to replace Danny Green after they traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Matthews had a solid season with the Bucks, averaging 7.4 points on a .396/.364/.765 slash line, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Across 67 starts with Milwaukee this season, Matthews perfected his 3-and-D role, and many rightfully suspected that his efforts would have him in high demand the second free agency kicked off. Sure enough, 30 minutes into free agency, and the 11-year veteran has himself a new contract.

Matthews originally had a $2.7 million player option for next season, and the clear consensus appeared to be that he was indeed going to opt-out in search of a raise. Many speculated that the Bucks held an advantage over other teams trying to sign him, given that Matthews is a Wisconsin native and had raved about the experience of playing for his hometown team numerous times throughout the 2019-20 season.

That clearly was not the case with the news that he is heading to LA. The Lakers add a stellar floor spacer and tough defender to their roster as they look to piece together another championship run. Los Angeles got Matthews cheap also, as many projected that he could get mid-level exception money somewhere around $9 million. Nevertheless, Matthews will be wearing the purple and gold next season, which means the Bucks have some questions to answer.

With Wesley Matthews departing, who could the Milwaukee Bucks bring in to be his replacement in the starting shooting guard slot?

One name of interest has been Avery Bradley, who ironically played for the Los Angeles Lakers this past season. Much like Wesley Matthews, Bradley is a solid defender, arguably the best on the perimeter in the entire association, while also doing his part on the other end as a solid floor spacer offensively.

Those two capabilities make it entirely justifiable the Bucks do reportedly have an interest in signing Bradley. With Matthews now filling another guard vacancy in Los Angeles, Bradley will likely be on the move, and Milwaukee should make a strong push. Bradley declined a $5 million player option to remain with Los Angeles this offseason, and the market for him remains unknown after missing the entirety of the NBA’s restart.

Less than an hour into free agency and the Milwaukee Bucks have already lost a player that played a substantial role in their success last season. With Wesley Matthews gone, time will tell what the team has in store in terms of retooling the roster, but the first domino has officially fallen.

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Stay tuned here at Behind the Buck Pass for the latest updates regarding what is shaping up to be a busy free agent market.