KEY POINTS

  • Wes Matthews was the first player to be signed by the Lakers in free agency
  • Matthews recalls the time Bryant called him after suffering an injury in 2015
  • Matthews is tasked to play defense this 2020-21 season

Wesley Matthews is one of the new faces on the Los Angeles Lakers side although the attention has mostly been on Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.

Though he agreed to only a one-year deal, the 34-year-old has a hidden agenda behind the move.

Most have been paying tribute to Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash last Jan. 26.

Though Matthews and Bryant were never really known to be close, the 6-foot-4 guard reveals a touching story where the late Lakers great reached out to him when he suffered an Achilles injury in 2015.

Matthews recalled that time and shared to Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll how Bryant called him using an unknown number a few years back.

The 18-time All-Star reached out to Matthews and told him to get his priorities in order and stay the course.

It would be best to note that Matthews and Bryant never talked over the phone before that time.

Matthews is said to be the Lakers' first reported addition when NBA free agency opened. He became a free agent when he declined the $2.7 million player option he had with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Miami Heat were also interested in Matthews. But in the end, he opted to join the Lakers and fill up the void that cropped up after the Dennis Schroder trade.

Danny Green was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder but ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers as of this writing. Matthews is expected to fill the 3-and-D void left by the three-time NBA champ.

Since returning from injury, the performance of Matthews has not exactly been the same compared to his Portland Trail Blazers day.

Last season, he played more as a support player. He saw action in 67 regular-season games for the Bucks, averaging 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He owns a 47.2 percent shooting clip from the field and 36.4 percent from the three-point region.

Seeing how the main guns are LeBron James and Anthony Davis, all Matthews has to do is play good defense on whoever head coach Frank Vogel would assign to him.

If all goes well, the 34-year-old could win his first NBA title with the Lakers and make Bryant proud.

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers calls for an inbound pass in front of Wesley Matthews #2 of the Portland Trail Blazers Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers calls for an inbound pass in front of Wesley Matthews #2 of the Portland Trail Blazers Photo: Getty Images | Harry How