For the second straight year, the Portland Trail Blazers are trying to poach a restricted free agent from the Utah Jazz.
The Blazers have signed Jazz shooting guard Wesley Matthews to a five-year, $34 million, according to a league source.
Utah now has seven days to match, but it could be incredibly difficult for the Jazz to do so.
The source told ESPN that Matthews is set to make $9.2 million in 2010-11, an exorbitant raise over his league-minimum salary in 2009-10.
Utah should not match that contract. Too much money for too little talent.
This is a bad signing by Portland. I don’t know why they are overextending themselves for a player like Matthews when they’re just entering luxury tax land + have to pay Greg Oden and Nicolas Batum large contract extensions in the near future.
How happy/unhappy is Deron Williams these days?
- The Jazz have just lost Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Wes Matthews in the last six months. Three starters. An All-Star caliber big man.
- To make matters worse, Memo Okur appears to be on his last legs. More of a defensive liability than he ever has been before.
- Then there’s the draft pick of Gordon Hayward. A decent but unexceptional use of Utah’s lottery pick.
A lot of unpleasant happenings going on in Utah these days. They better find a way to give Deron Williams some good news over the next 12-18 months or they’re going to find themselves in a very upsetting situation.
Update: Matthews to Portland
The Jazz have informed Wesley Matthews that they will not match the offer sheet he signed with the Blazers.
Utah has decided to sign Raja Bell to a three-year deal, worth $10 million.
Bell still needs to pass his physical, which is a contingency of their decision not to match.
Good decision by Utah. It was too much money.
As I said earlier, I don’t like this signing for Portland because the financial issues it raises when it comes to re-signing Greg Oden and Nicolas Batum in the near future. Portland are already well over the luxury tax threshold and this puts further pressure on them financially.
However, if the Blazers owner is willing to pay, and pay and pay, then what does it matter? Hopefully he is and hopefully this signing won’t come back to bite Portland on the ass.