Bucks: Reaction to Wesley Matthews signing with the Atlanta Hawks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 09 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 09 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As the days went on after 2023 NBA Free Agency opened, it seemed more and more likely that the Milwaukee Bucks would not be bringing back veteran swingman Wesley Matthews.

Indeed, Matthews will not be back with the Bucks next season, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the veteran has inked a one-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Matthews has been a big piece for the Bucks over the past two seasons, so this deal could have some big implications on the team’s wing rotation next season.

Bucks: Reaction to Wesley Matthews signing with the Atlanta Hawks

Since he signed with the Bucks in late 2021, Matthews served as the team’s main wing defender. While he wasn’t the player he once was, Matthews still provided some tremendous defense; good enough defense that many figured he’d be back for a third straight season. However, that will not be the case. Matthews will now likely play a serviceable role defensively for the Hawks.

It’s clear that the Bucks wanted to go in a different direction here. On top of already wanting to get more minutes freed up for MarJon Beauchamp, Milwaukee also has Chris Livingston, AJ Green, and Andre Jackson Jr. on the roster, and they could all become contributors as the Bucks embrace more youth under Head Coach Adrian Griffin.

On top of wanting to get the young guys more involved, the Bucks also brought back Jae Crowder, and they are now banking on him to play the role of Matthews. When an elite wing scorer is on the schedule, Crowder will likely be one of the primary defenders, as he’s the savvy veteran among the bunch. Letting Matthews go also shows that the team has faith in a bounce-back season from Jae.

All in all, the opportunity will be there for the young guys to make it onto the court; the question is whos going to play the toughest defense to get it. Beauchamp is the obvious candidate here, but the other young guys should not be ruled out of anything, as they’ve certainly got potential.

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