Veteran swingman Wesley Matthews made his Knicks debut on Sunday, but it’s unclear how many more games he’ll play for the club. New York has received “multiple inquiries” about Matthews, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who hears from a source that the Sixers are expected to have some interest in a deal.
Berman writes that a buyout “won’t happen,” but that could be posturing from the Knicks’ side, as opening the door for that possibility would diminish Matthews’ value on the trade market. If the 32-year-old ends up being bought out, he’d be a popular free agent target, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
Stein identifies the Rockets, Thunder, Raptors, 76ers, and Warriors as teams hoping Matthews makes it to free agency. Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com had previously reported (via Twitter) that Houston would have interest in Matthews on the buyout market.
While the Knicks appear to be resisting the buyout route, it might be tricky for the club to find a taker for Matthews by Thursday’s deadline. The franchise has zero interest in taking on 2019/20 salary, and there aren’t a ton of expiring contracts around the NBA that make sense as salary-matching pieces for Matthews’ own $18.6MM expiring deal.
A team like the Kings might make sense as a trade partner for the Knicks, since they have $11MM in cap room and multiple non-rotation veterans on expiring deals, including Zach Randolph ($11.7MM). Clubs like the Rockets, Thunder, and Raptors, however, wouldn’t have a clear path to a trade, given their current cap situations, which is why they’re hoping Matthews is ultimately bought out.
As the Knicks consider their options with Matthews, it’s worth noting that head coach David Fizdale has said that he believes both Matthews and DeAndre Jordan could have a future in New York, as Berman relays. The Knicks are hoping that Jordan will be a “big influence” on rookie center Mitchell Robinson, Berman adds.
“Both of those guys have played some [playoff] series on some really good basketball teams,” Fizdale said. “And who knows what the future holds for these guys? They’re ours now, free agents at the end of the year, but who knows? I want them to come here and enjoy the process with us and really help the young guys.”