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Lakers reportedly will go after Wesley Matthews in free agency

Michael Holley and Michael Smith discuss trade rumors with the NBA draft and free agency approaching and if Russell Westbrook could be dealt to the Knicks, as well as why New York would be smart to acquire the star.

Lakers fans like the trade to land Dennis Schroder as a backup point guard to run the team offense when LeBron James sits. And they should, at this point in their careers Schroder is an upgrade over Rajon Rondo.

However, agreeing to trade Danny Green to land Schroder creates a big hole on the wing. Lakers fans may be frustrated with Green, but he’s the kind of reliable 3&D wing front offices and coaches trust, and players like that are not easy to replace.

The Lakers might try to do that with Wesley Matthews, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Matthews has a player option on a veteran minimum contract with Milwaukee that he is widely expected to opt-out of and become a free agent (he’s not going to make less money). He is a 6'4" swingman who is started last season for the Bucks, is solid defensively, and scored 7.4 points per game while shooting 36.4% from three last season. He is also 34 years old, a couple of years older than Green.

The Bucks are expected to make retaining Matthews a priority (Giannis Antetokounmpo helped recruit him to Milwaukee), and other teams looking for 3&D type players could target him (Miami comes to mind). The Lakers could use part of its $9.3 million mid-level exception to pay Matthews, but they reportedly want to divide that up between multiple players and hunt a defensive big man such as Serge Ibaka as well. If the Lakers use more than $5.7 million of their mid-level exception they will be hard-capped at around $138.9 million, limiting the moves they can make in season.

Matthews is one option, but whether it’s him or someone else the Lakers need to make a move or two to bring in defense-first wing depth (retaining Avery Bradley would help with that).