Sixers Notes: Melton, Bazley, Payne, Rubin

Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton was sidelined for Friday’s contest vs. Charlotte and won’t be with the team for its upcoming two-game road trip, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports. The Sixers will play in Dallas on Sunday and in Brooklyn next Tuesday before returning home for Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis.

Melton has been battling a lumbar spine injury for the past few months, which caused him to miss 18 consecutive games before returning last Friday vs. Cleveland. However, in his third game back — on Tuesday vs. Boston — the 25-year-old experienced back spasms, limiting him to nine minutes of action and now at least three more missed games.

The former USC guard will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason if he doesn’t sign an extension with Philadelphia. Melton is earning $8MM in 2023/24, the final season of his current contract.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Darius Bazley, a former first-round pick who has spent most of the season playing for the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s NBA G League affiliate, was on a 10-day contract that expired Thursday night. It doesn’t sound like a second 10-day deal is imminent, as he has rejoined the Blue Coats, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The fifth-year forward/center played 10 minutes across three appearances with the 76ers, who now have 13 players on standard contracts and will need to sign another player within 14 days.
  • Cameron Payne‘s role with the Sixers has been changing along with the team’s post-deadline roster. Payne went from starting with Tyrese Maxey out to serving as a backup to moving to the third string with the addition of Kyle Lowry. The ninth-year guard knows what’s being asked of him in order to establish himself in the rotation, according to Pompey. “I’ve needed to be more aggressive, more offensive, from where I came from,” Payne said. “That wasn’t needed from me. So just honestly having the ball in my hand is the change.
  • Former Sixers minority owner and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said he feels more connected to sports now that he’s no longer a part-owner of the Sixers, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gina Mizell. Rubin joked he was “violating every rule the NBA had” while owning a stake in the Sixers, Mizell writes, which included taking bets on Philadelphia players after Fanatics entered the space. “If you look through the rules of the leagues, it didn’t work for me to own part of a team,” Rubin said. “It was holding back Fanatics. It was a great privilege and honor to be a part of.

Tristan Tucker contributed to this post.

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