A recent Ben Golliver fanpost regarding the possible acquisition of Monta Ellis brought up a specific question that needs to be discussed in more general terms. Ben's original question was whether the Trail Blazers should consider Wesley Matthews too dear to part with for Ellis. Broadening out, I'd like to know under what conditions if any the Blazers should consider trading Matthews. It's an interesting discussion because plenty of people think Matthews is over-valued by Blazers fans but just as many claim he's under-valued. With him all over the map as far as popularity, where should the trade trigger point be? Should he be available at all?
In the comment section of that fanpost I compared Matthews to a studio musician. I don't know if you've noticed, but the best singers don't always win American Idol. Some of the best guitar players in the world don't play for any bands you've heard of. Some accomplished musicians make their living and reputation recording, usually for others, outside of the limelight and pressure of touring. You want these experts laying down your tracks when you're going to commit to a permanent record. Despite the talent they're not going to tour with you or provide a big show. That's not their gig. It's not about the sizzle and visceral entertainment as much as the music and the proficiency on an instrument.
If, on the other hand, you're looking for a showman to front your band these folks just aren't going to fit the job description. Maybe they're homebodies or maybe they just lack the "ZAP!" necessary to propel your live show over the top and make the crowds buy in.
The Trail Blazers' decision on the trade-ability of Wesley Matthews depends in large part on what they're looking for. Do they need a lead singer heartthrob? They'll need to look elsewhere. But if they're happy with a guy who's reliable, great at his part, understands the music, and seldom misses a note to support the more glam-ready members of the band then Wesley is their man. To me the final question is not so much about Matthews as about the players who surround him. If the band has enough stars they should keep him. Lacking enough star-power they have to question how many studio musicians they can carry and still be a touring band.
What say you? Weigh in below.