The Los Angeles Lakers struck early in free agency, landing Wes Matthews on an entirely affordable one-year, $3.6 million deal. Matthews will likely step in to replace the hole Danny Green left in LA's lineup and, frankly, it's a perfect fit.
Matthews is coming off a solid season with the Milwaukee Bucks during which he averaged 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. He started 67 games as a complementary piece and, most importantly for the Lakers, he's a career 38.1 percent 3-point shooter. He's also a plus-player on the defensive end, as he posted a career-best 2.4 defensive win shares last season. LA desperately needed to add shooting prowess this offseason and Matthews is a solid 3-and-D replacement for Green.
In even better news for the Lakers, Matthews is at his best in catch-and-shoot situations. He shot 37.7 percent in catch-and-shoot situations last season but was above 40 percent during the 2018-19 season. He should get plenty of those opportunities with LeBron James and Anthony Davis opening up opportunities on the perimeter.
Green was shipped to Oklahoma City as part of the Dennis Schroder trade and, frankly, Matthews is an upgrade over the version of Green we saw last season. He's coming off a better shooting season and he's a slightly better defender at this point in his career. Matthews will also cost almost $12 million less than Green this season.
This feels like a great, affordable pickup that fills a need for the Lakers and saves money for them to fill out the rest of the roster. It leaves plenty of money on the table to bring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back, add another shooter and a post player.
We'll see what happens, but this is an excellent start to free agency for the Lakers.