Atlantic Notes: Melton, LeBron, Mitchell, Thibodeau

De’Anthony Melton missed 44 games this season due to a spinal injury but the Sixers guard is eager to see what he’s worth on the open market. He’ll be a free agent this summer.

“I feel like I established myself in the league in understanding what I do, what I bring to the table,” Melton told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “So I think everybody knows that. … You never know.”

Despite his injury-riddled season, Melton should make more than the $8.6MM he averaged the last four seasons, according to Pompey. Melton’s salary-cap hold is $15.2MM but the Sixers could renounce his rights to open up more cap space.

“I would love to [come back to the Sixers], but it’s not up to me and I understand that,” Melton said. “It is what it is and I understand that it’s a business. So I’ll roll with whatever.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Could the Sixers lure LeBron James to Philadelphia by drafting Bronny James? The Sixers have the cap space to sign a top-level free agent if James opts out. Pompey explores that possibility, noting they own a first-round pick (No. 16) and a second-rounder (No. 41). They could expend a pick in a weak draft on Bronny, hoping the dream of playing with his son could convince his father to come to Philly.
  • The Nets have been eyeing Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell for the past year and they’ll need to pounce if he becomes available in the trade market, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. While Mitchell and the Cavs are reportedly interested in working out an extension, the Nets could be an option for the New York native if that situation changes.
  • Forget about any roster moves. The top priority for the Knicks’ front office this offseason should be reaching an extension agreement with coach Tom Thibodeau, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines. They won 50 games and a playoff series and made it to Game 7 in the second round because Thibodeau forbade his players from feeling sorry for themselves when injuries ravaged their rotation, Vaccaro writes.
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