Wesley Matthews only wanted to play for the Milwaukee Bucks this season

Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

A Wisconsin native, long-time journeyman Wesley Matthews returned home and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the 2019-20 NBA season.

With the team losing a key contributor in Malcolm Brogdon during free agency, Matthews stepped into the starting five immediately. Although he never averaged the flashiest numbers or made the highlight reels consistently, Matthews quickly proved to be a natural fit. With a stellar outside shot and robust defense being his two calling cards, the swingman played a pivotal part in Milwaukee’s success in authoritatively claiming the NBA’s best record that season. However, despite the Bucks’ regular season dominance, they crashed and burned for the second consecutive playoff series in a grueling 4-1 second round loss to the Heat.

Matthews opted to enter free agency after Milwaukee’s season came to an early close, and while many hoped he would stick around to run it back, that would not be the case. The veteran almost immediately signed a minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the championship just before, ending his return home after just one year. Things did not quite pan out for Matthews with the purple and gold as his playing time was at a career-low throughout the season, which hurt his production. Ultimately, after LA’s first round loss in 2020-21, Matthews did not get signed by any teams and there were questions about whether or not he might play in the league again.

Apparently, if Matthews would get that opportunity, he wanted it with the Bucks.

Wesley Matthews made it abundantly clear that he only wanted to play for the Milwaukee Bucks this season

In his latest piece, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jim Owczarski detailed the process that led to the Bucks bringing Matthews back earlier this season. He noted that Matthews reportedly traveled to meet with team governer Marc Lasry and senior vice president Alex Lasry to make the case as to why the Bucks were the only team for him. This desire to return home came despite an array of countless other teams making calls to inquire about Matthews’ services. He knew that the Milwaukee Bucks were the team for him.

They granted his wish by bringing him aboard in early December on a non-guaranteed deal, which divided some of the fanbase. Most were sold on the move from the jump, largely due to the roster issues hindering the team early on, but others were skeptical to welcome him back in after he left them in free agency just over a year before. What happened after the 2019-20 season should not truly matter. Though it seems like Matthews has some regrets about leaving the first time, he has been given the opportunity to start fresh this season, and he has certainly taken advantage.

Matthews has been a fantastic addition for the Bucks, giving them solid two-way play off the bench on a nightly basis. The veteran is currently knocking down 42.1 percent of his 3-pointers while providing outstanding defense throughout his first 12 games with the team. He has already notched a few memorable performances as well, including a 16-point effort in December against the Houston Rockets and an insanely clutch 3-pointer against the Boston Celtics on Christmas. Picking him up on a non-guaranteed deal was a masterful move by general manager Jon Horst that has already paid dividends.

Although his time has been brief, it seems like Matthews has already cemented himself as a new fan favorite for the franchise. He has played with tenacious energy on a nightly basis, looking like he is taking in every moment of being back with the franchise. Given his quote about wanting to only suit up for the Bucks this season, that might be true, which only adds to his likeability.

It seems inevitable that Matthews will get his contract guaranteed with the Bucks, given how well he has played for them. He has proven to be a significant spark off the bench and a player that will be useful once the postseason rolls around due to his play on both sides of the ball. At the end of the day, Matthews is here to help the Bucks make a run at a championship, which is just what he wants. He and the Bucks failed the first time around, but he is looking to help them right those wrongs over a year later. Hopefully he can help achieve redemption.

Next. Assessing the Milwaukee Bucks’ biggest needs before 2022 trade deadline. dark

It sure is great to have Matthews back in Wisconsin as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks again.