Pass or pursue: Wesley Matthews' future with the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have some roster construction decisions to make over the offseason, and one of them is whether Wesley Matthews has a future with the franchise.
Atlanta Hawks guard Wesley Matthews
Atlanta Hawks guard Wesley Matthews / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are in the throes of another interesting offseason in 2024. They qualified for the play-in tournament before being knocked out, which was a stroke of luck for the franchise. The Hawks became eligible for the draft lottery which, by amazing fortune, they won for the first time since 1975.

However, this means that they need to make a number of decisions regarding the structure of their roster and one of them is to pass or pursue on Wesley Matthews. The 37-year-old veteran of 14 seasons was serviceable for the franchise last season, averaging 3.1 points and 1.5 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game. In fact, Matthews started three of the 36 games that he played last season.

However, at what point do the Hawks move on from players with this level of experience in favor of younger, fresher players? While it is important to have a veteran leader in the locker room, Matthews does not provide the same presence as Vince Carter did when he was with the franchise. To be fair, not many players would have the same impact.

The Atlanta Hawks don't have many spare roster spots this offseason

The problem for Matthews is that the Hawks, as their roster is currently constructed, do not have many spots that they can use on a veteran at the end of the bench. They currently have 12 players under contract and another player to join the team via the draft. This means that there are only two full roster spots left.

The Hawks should re-sign Saddiq Bey, despite the injury that he suffered. This means that they will only have 14 active players until he comes back from knee surgery. Given the Hawks are trying to make their way back into the playoffs, wasting this slot on a 38-year-old veteran with no championship experience is not a wise move.

On top of that, Matthews was not efficient when he hit the floor, only going 34.8 percent from deep. This was where he took 1.9 of his 2.7 shot attempts per game last season and does not help space the floor. While he did show some good defensive tendencies towards the end of last season, they were in specific situations, which is not enough to keep Matthews.

While I have loved watching Matthews play fo rthe past 14 seasons, if he is to play on in the league next season, it needs to be somewhere else. The Hawks need to build around their core and the yet unknown first pick in the 2024 NBA draft. Matthews does not fit with their plans.