DALLAS – During Sunday’s 10th Annual Festival De Los Mavs at Gilley’s, Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews said he has been cleared to resume regular basketball activities without any restrictions.
Matthews recently had an MRI after sustaining a fracture to his right proximal fibula during the Mavs’ 114-80 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Mar. 10. Asked if he can do whatever he wants in regards to basketball, Matthews said: “Yes I can. Which is a dangerous thing.
“Now I’m going to go try and find a pickup game.”
Matthews has a player-option on his contract that will pay him $18.62 million next season. He said he will pick up that option and return and play next season with the Mavs.
“Obviously that’s something that hasn’t been on my mind,” Matthews said. “That’s what you have an agent for and agencies for.
“Like I said, I don’t plan on being anywhere else. And now it’s just focusing on getting back healthy, which I am now, and getting on this court.”
Matthews’ injury forced him to miss the final 16 games of the season. In all, the nine-year veteran played 63 games this season, which is the fewest in his career besides the 60 games he played during the 2014-’15 campaign when he torn his left Achilles while he was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.
This past season Matthews led the Mavs in steals (1.21), was second in minutes played (33.8), third in scoring (12.7) and third in 3-point shooting (38.1 percent) while also being the team’s top perimeter defender. For now, as he tries to locate a “pickup game” to his liking, Matthews has been calling rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and second-year forward Dorian Finney-Smith in hopes that they’ve been paying close attention to the current competitive and sometimes combative NBA playoffs.
“I’m watching these playoff games and I’m getting that hunger and I’m calling some of the young guys,” Matthews said. “I’ve been calling (Finney-Smith) and I’ve been calling Dennis and making sure that they’re tuned in watching these games.
“You can feel the passion and the fight on the TV. We’ve got to have that as soon as we can get back playing again from (training) camp. We don’t want to be watching (the playoffs) again.”
One of the reasons Matthews noted that it’s a no-brainer for him to pick up the player-option on his contract and return to the Mavs is because of the positive “personalities” within the organization.
“You don’t find too many places where, top to bottom, everybody gets along with everybody,” Matthews said. “We never turned on each other, we never flaked on each other.
“This is an organization that’s a prideful organization — it’s had a lot of success. This is a very successful championship organization and these past two seasons in not making the playoffs and being in the lottery is not ideal for anybody to be a part of it.”
The Mavs advanced to the playoffs 15 out of 16 seasons from 2001-’16 before unfortunately missing the postseason the past two years. Matthews steadfastly believes the Mavs will be one of the eight Western Conference teams earning a postseason berth next season, and he points to the close bond the team has as Exhibit A.
“A lot of times you see teams and coaching staffs and organizations kind of splinter and point fingers, and we never did that at any point,” Matthews said. “Even when we’re just in the locker room with ourselves, on the bus, on the plane, we never did that. We rallied.
“That’s a special thing. Now we’ve just got to turn that into what we’re capable of being, and that’s in the postseason.”