The Raptors are in the hunt for a pair of Trail Blazers.
In addition to LaMarcus Aldridge, the Raptors are also interested in Portland Trail Blazers free agent Wes Matthews.
Word I hear is that Wes Matthews (@wessywes2) is ahead of schedule on his Achilles rehab and drawing interest from Toronto as well as Dallas
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2015
Matthews, a 28-year-old shooting guard, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in early March. Prior to his injury, Matthews averaged 15.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 3-pointers made per game on a true-shooting percentage of 58.6.
The injury couldn’t have come for a worse time for Matthews, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The hard-nosed guard was affectionately nicknamed “Ironman” by Blazers fans for his ability to stay healthy and his persistence in playing through injuries.
Still, Matthews remains determined to overcome his injury. He’s seeking what he deserved had he stayed healthy: a larger role on offense and a multi-year deal worth $15 million per year. Matthews is one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, he’s a nifty post player and a dogged defender. With the rising popularity of 3-and-D wings, Matthews is certainly within his rights to pursue a raise.
But the injuries are a worry. Achilles tears have undercut many careers. A study by Deadspin found that players played an average of 5.21 minutes fewer per game in their first season back from an Achilles tear. They also found an average drop in PER by 4.64 – a staggering figure.
In the context of the Aldridge pursuit, the move can be looked at one of two ways. Matthews could serve as a plan B, in the likely event of Aldridge signing elsewhere. Or, Matthews and Aldridge could be brought in as a package, but that would necessitate a salary-shedding trade.