Hey all. I would just like to preface this post by saying I am a huge Wesley Matthews supporter. While he may not be the most skilled player on our team, his 110% effort night in an night out cannot be learned. He is an exemplary teammate and his contribution to the team goes beyond his statistics.
That said, he is totally and completely expendable for the right price. Wesley Matthews is on an incredibly team friendly contract where his cap hit is actually higher than his paid salary due to the front loaded contract we offered him to pry him away from the Utah Jazz back in 2010. Because of this, is contract is very desirable to cost conscious teams. Also, he is a known contributor and a solid teammate. These aspects of a player are desirable to many teams.
What I am advocating is including him in a package for a legitimate, upper echelon defensive center. Of course other players, most likely young and full of potential (Looking at you Meyers and CJ), would have to be included in said trade package. This type of move is going to be necessary to put Portland on that next level in terms of competition. To be able to keep the trio of Aldridge, Lillard and Batum in tact while adding that defensive presence in the middle would vault this team to a legitimate playoff team, rather than fighting tooth and nail for the 8th seed.
Why is Matthews, a 40% three point shooter, 100% defensive effort, great locker room guy replaceable? Because the 2014 free agency class offers suitable replacements for a 3 and D shooting guard, and talent beats guts in this league. Guys like Brandon Rush, Thabo Sefolosha, Vince Carter, Jodie Meeks and Quincy Pondexter are going to be available for at or below the MLE making them totally attainable for a team like Portland and could easily replace Matthews' production on the floor.
No I don't have a trade proposal laid out for your regarding flipping Matthews into a legit center, but this coming NBA season will unfold, and with that will create many available players, some of them highly desirable to Portland. The Atlanta Hawks could flame out early and prompt Danny Ferry to go into full on rebuild by trading Al Horford. Omer Asik could be the worst fit ever with Houston's new front court. Andrew Bynum could miraculously recover and leave Anderson Varejao on the market. The point is, it's too early to tell who is available, but it's not too early to admit that Wesley Matthews is a valuable trade chip for the exact reasons why we love him here in Portland, but that his on court production is replaceable with an MLE level free agent that is readily available in 2014. Because of this, given the opportunity to upgrade our center position, Matthews should be 100% expendable.