The Los Angeles Lakers announced the signing of Wesley Matthews, who was the team’s first reported addition when free agency officially opened. However, it was not until 9:01 a.m. PT on Sunday morning that most contracts could be finalized.
Matthews became a free agent this offseason after declining a $2.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season. A return to the Milwaukee Bucks appeared to be ruled out as they reportedly reached a sign-and-trade agreement with the Sacramento Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
That deal quickly came apart as it was then reported Bogdanovic had not agreed to being part of such a transaction as a restricted free agent. The NBA subsequently opened an investigation that remains ongoing.
In addition to the Lakers, Matthews drew reported interest from the Miami Heat. His signing with L.A. helps fill a void that was created when the Lakers agreed to trade Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder.
Matthews now gets to assume the role of a 3-and-D wing who fits well on the Lakers roster. The 34-year-old has spent the bulk of his career in the Western Conference, previously playing five seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and four with the Dallas Mavericks.
Pelinka had open mind with Lakers roster
While recognizing the special bond the Lakers roster developed amid all the challenges en route to winning the championship last season, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka also found it key not to become complacent.
Ahead of free agency beginning, Pelinka said he was more of the mind to work to improve a roster rather than simply keep it unchanged. He seemingly accomplished that goal with not only Matthews, but bolstering the Lakers bench through the additions of Schroder and Montrezl Harrell.
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