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Rookie Matthews awaits guaranteed money
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For all the furor presently surrounding the Jazz, a milestone is expected to pass quietly this week with undrafted rookie Wesley Matthews soon to have his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season barring major roster upheaval.

Matthews, who made the roster out of training camp after injuries to C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver , has averaged 8.1 points, started 19 times and is one of three rookies ( James Harden and Ty Lawson are the others) to play 20 minutes a game for a winning team.

The deadline for contracts to be guaranteed is Sunday, but a nonguaranteed player would have to be released by Wednesday in order to clear waivers by the weekend. Matthews is making the rookie minimum $457,588.

"The Jazz have taken great care of me in giving me this opportunity," Matthews said, "and to make it guaranteed, hopefully, it's just icing on the cake."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan , meanwhile, said he considered returning Matthews to the starting lineup after Saturday's loss to Denver but will stick with Miles and the same group for now.

"Experience again is a factor sometimes when you're running an offense," Sloan said. "Knowing where to be, what to do and that sort of thing."

Matthews, however, has played ahead of Miles in the fourth quarter of the last two games.

Deron Williams said of Matthews' time starting: "We were playing our best basketball and then we just changed everything up, which is kind of frustrating."

For his part, Matthews has continued to take advantage of his opportunities off the bench.

"You can't dwell on being on the bench, being a starter," Matthews said. "As soon as you do that, your production goes down, and once your production goes down, then you're not seeing the court regardless."

He said of Saturday's loss to Denver, "I don't think anybody in here has pushed the panic button," noting that the Jazz still have to play the Nuggets and Oklahoma City another two times each this season.

No surprise

Sloan tried to offer some perspective Sunday about losing to a Denver team missing its two stars in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups .

"You see it happen if you follow the game a little bit," Sloan said. "It's not unusual to see that. The other guys get themselves ready to go and maybe you have a little bit of a letdown. And our energy level was kind of a letdown."

rsiler@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rsiler@sltrib.com

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