PORTLAND, Ore. – On Wednesday the Portland Trail Blazers team signed its newest guard: Wesley Matthews.
The 23-year-old former Utah Jazz basketball player was introduced at a 10 a.m. event at North Portland's Dawson Park. New General Manager Rich Cho made the announcement.
Matthews will wear jersey No. 2.
Matthews arrived in Portland Tuesday night, with KATU Sports Director Katy Brown getting the exclusive interview. At the time he was expected to sign a five-year, $34 million contract as of Wednesday morning. Team officials would not confirm details of the final deal, citing "team policy."
A restricted free agent, Matthews signed an offer sheet with the Trail Blazers July 10. The Utah Jazz elected not to exercise its right of first refusal and match the offer.
“Wesley is a great fit for our team both on and off the court,” Cho said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “As only a first-year player last season, he demonstrated a lot of maturity and ability. He’s already one of the best young defenders in the league and offensively he’s an emerging threat. He’s going to add a lot of versatility to our roster.”
On Feb. 3 Matthews challenged the Blazers in Salt Lake City as a Jazz player, scoring 16 points against the Portland team to cement a Jazz win (more on that game). The week before, Jazz beat the Blazers 106-95 in Portland.
Matthews appeared in all of the Jazz's 82 games, including 48 starts, as a rookie in 2009-10. He averaged 9.4 points (48.3% FG, 38.2% 3-PT, 82.9% FT), 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.78 steals and 24.7 minutes for the Jazz last year.
In his first NBA season, Matthews (6-5, 220) started all 10 of Utah’s 2010 postseason contests, posting averages of 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.80 steals in 37.1 minutes.
A four-year player from Marquette University, Matthews went undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft. He totaled collegiate averages of 13.2 points (44.4% FG, 34.1% 3-PT, 79.9% FT), 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.22 steals and 30.2 minutes in 127 games (117 starts) from 2005-09.
On June 28, the Blazers selected former Nevada teammates Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson and Memphis guard Elliot Williams.The future of veteran forward Ryan Gomes, traded for forward Martell Webster to the Minnesota Timberwolves, was still up in the air. This year's draft has been called "surreal," given that Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard was fired beforehand but stuck around to help make the team's selections.