Wesley Matthews does the dirty work for the Milwaukee Bucks

Not that he views his career that way, but Matthews had brutal timing. When he was with the Bucks two seasons ago, the Lakers won it all. When Matthews joined the Lakers last season, they were defeated by injuries and lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs – while the Bucks won their first championship in 50 years.

“I wanted them to win,” Matthews said. “Phoenix beat us, so I absolutely didn’t want them to win, even though I have friends there. But yeah, I was happy for those guys, I was happy for the city, and I was happy for the state and the organization. Everyone is good people.

Matthews, 35, has faced uncertainty at the start of the season, which started without him. He trained alone at home and kept in periodic contact with Jon Horst, the Bucks’ general manager, as well as a few other teams. Matthews was pretty confident that his career wasn’t over – not yet, anyway.

“You obviously don’t know anything for certain, but I had a good feeling,” he said. “It was just going to be a test of how badly I wanted it.”

In some ways, he was used to the grind. In 2009, he started his NBA career the hard way – by not being drafted. He then signed an unsecured deal with the Utah Jazz, then spent his first two months with the team living in a hotel. He was later upgraded to a small apartment with a month-to-month lease. He has since earned more than $100 million in 13 seasons with seven teams.

“He brings that energy, that tenacity, that camaraderie — a bit of everything,” Connaughton said. “I think the ability to impact the game, not necessarily scoring and not necessarily doing it with stats, is super impressive. It’s something I’ve always admired. »

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