De'Anthony Melton

And-Ones: Brown, Bates, Afflalo, All-Underrated Team

The Milwaukee Common Council has approved a $750K settlement in a lawsuit brought by former Bucks player Sterling Brown over his 2018 arrest, according to an Associated Press report. Brown was taken to the ground and shocked with a Taser after he was approached by police over a parking violation.

As part of the settlement, Brown was given an apology from the city and Milwaukee police that “recognizes that the incident escalated in an unnecessary manner and despite Mr. Brown’s calm behavior.” It also requires the city to commit to changes in the police department’s standard operating procedures. Brown is currently playing for the Rockets.

We have more news and notes from around the basketball world:

  • High school star Emoni Bates decommitted from Michigan State and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeff Borzello take a look at where Bates might end up. Bates, who is currently attending a prep school created by his father, won’t be eligible for the draft until 2023. Numerous colleges have made offers to Bates after he decommitted but he still has another year to go before he pursue that route. He could take the G League route if he graduates this spring but would have to stay there for two years due to the NBA’s age limit.
  • Former NBA player Arron Afflalo was part of a group that tried to purchase the Timberwolves and Afflalo is continuing to seek other opportunities to become a part-owner of a franchise. The Athletic’s David Aldridge spoke with Afflalo about his conversations with the Timberwolves and other topics.
  • Rudy Gobert, Jrue Holiday and De’Anthony Melton top the list of players on John Hollinger’s All-Underrated Team. The Athletic columnist lists his top 10 in that category, plus another group of that made his Honorable Mention list.

Western Notes: Melton, Gobert, Wiggins, Oubre

Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton is the latest player to miss game action due to the coronavirus pandemic. He won’t play against Atlanta on Saturday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Melton played 25 minutes in Memphis’ season-opening loss to San Antonio on Wednesday.

We have more Western Conference news:

  • Despite the emphasis on the 3-point shot, Rudy Gobert remains a big part of the Jazz’s offense, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Gobert made 8-of-10 field-goal attempts in the team’s season-opening victory over Portland while scoring 20 points. “When we move the ball that way it doesn’t really matter who gets the shot,” Gobert said. “I’m able to get my teammates open by just setting the screen or running the floor, or by catching the ball and then swinging to the open shooter. It’s fun.” Gobert signed a five-year, $205MM extension on Sunday.
  • Warriors wings Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. are off to very slow starts, Nick Friedell of ESPN notes. Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State in February, and Oubre, who was added in the offseason, shot a combined 14-for-58 from the field and 2-for-21 from the 3-point line in the first two games this season. Coach Steve Kerr isn’t pushing the panic button. “Kelly’s going to be fine. Andrew will be fine,” Kerr said. “Those guys are proven players in this league. I’ve got to do a better job of putting them in positions to get comfortable, too.”
  • Big man JaMychal Green left the Clippers and signed with the Nuggets on a two-year, $15MM contract. Nuggets coach Michael Malone saw that as an example of Denver’s reputation around the league, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “The fact that he decided to join us, I think, was a sign of respect,” Malone said. “He wanted to be a part of the team he saw in the Western Conference semifinals when we played head to head.”

Grizzlies Re-Sign De’Anthony Melton To Four-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 22: The Grizzlies have officially announced their new deal with Melton, confirming the move in a press release.


NOVEMBER 21: The Grizzlies have agreed to re-sign free agent guard De’Anthony Melton to a four-year contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the deal will be worth $35MM. Melton had been a restricted free agent.

The 22-year-old’s modest box-score numbers – 7.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 2.9 APG – understated his impact in Memphis during the 2019/20 season. He was perhaps the Grizzlies’ best perimeter defender and the team had a +5.1 net rating when he played, compared to a -4.0 mark when he was on the bench.

The 46th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Melton earned the minimum salary for the first two years of his NBA career, but will now have a 2020/21 salary comparable to that of Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, the top picks in his draft class, notes Charania (via Twitter). Charania says Melton will earn $9.6MM in year one, suggesting the deal has a declining structure.

The Grizzlies held Early Bird rights on Melton and will be able to re-sign him using those rights, so the deal won’t affect the team’s mid-level exception, which remains available. Melton, meanwhile, will join Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke, and Dillon Brooks as the only Grizzlies players under contract beyond 2022.

Melton had been the 20th overall player on our list of 2020’s top 50 free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies Extend QO To Melton, Making Him RFA

The Grizzlies have opted to extend a qualifying offer to backup point guard De’Anthony Melton ahead of his third season, making him a restricted free agent, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and USA Today Sports (Twitter link).

Melton’s qualifying offer is worth $1,820,564. The Rockets drafted Melton with the No. 46 pick in the 2018 draft, but traded him to the Suns for his rookie season. The 22-year-old guard out of USC played 60 games, including eight starts, during his first year with Memphis in 2019/20. He averaged 7.6 PPG, 3.7 APG, and 2.9 APG across 19.5 MPG.

With Melton now a restricted free agent, the Grizzlies have the right to match any offer sheet the 6’2″ guard signs during the coming offseason.

And-Ones: Free Agents, Jersey Ads, Bubble, Europe

John Hollinger of The Athletic, who invented the PER stat during his time at ESPN, has developed a new metric called BORD$ that estimates a player’s salary value for the upcoming season. After providing an in-depth explanation of how exactly the BORD$ formula works, Hollinger has applied it to this year’s class of free agent point guards and shooting guards in an attempt to determine which players warrant the biggest investments.

Hollinger’s point guard list doesn’t include a ton of surprises — Fred VanVleet is easily the most valuable free agent at the position, with Mike Conley and Goran Dragic topping the next two tiers. Shabazz Napier, Trey Burke, and Jordan McLaughlin are among the point guards whose projections are higher than you might expect.

Applied to this year’s free agent shooting guards, the results from Hollinger’s metric are more eyebrow-raising. Grizzlies RFA-to-be De’Anthony Melton is considered the top free agent at the position by BORD$, ahead of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Evan Fournier. A pair of Bulls guards, Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison, also rank in Hollinger’s top seven FA shooting guards due to their defensive prowess.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As the NBA considers potential new revenue streams to help offset the losses generated by the coronavirus pandemic, allowing a second advertisement patch on game jerseys is one idea being weighed, according to John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the lessons learned from the NBA’s summer bubble experiment and the takeaways that could carry over to the 2020/21 season. As Aldridge observes, while players and coaches aren’t eager to re-enter a bubble next year, the fact that it worked so well this time around will go a long way toward convincing them it’s worth doing again, if need be — even if it’s just for a short period in the postseason, like Major League Baseball did.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on European basketball leagues that have begun their 2020/21 seasons, as Ken Maguire of The Associated Press writes. Only half of the EuroLeague’s 18 clubs have played a full six-game schedule so far this season, as COVID-19 outbreaks have caused several last-minute postponements.

Dillon Brooks On Iguodala: Can’t Wait Until We Trade Him

Before the Grizzlies defeated the Pistons on Monday night, maintaining their hold on the No. 8 seed, a report surfaced suggesting that Andre Iguodala is preparing to sit out the season if he’s not traded to one of his preferred landing spots, or bought out. After Memphis’ win, forward Dillon Brooks weighed in on the Iguodala rumors, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal relays.

“Andre Iguodala’s a great player. I feel like he’s doing the right thing for his career, but we don’t really care,” Brooks said. “It’s not a distraction at all. I laugh at that type of stuff.

“A guy that’s on our team that doesn’t want to be on our team,” Brooks continued. “I can’t wait ’til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him what really Memphis is about.”

Although no other Grizzlies players conveyed a similar sentiment to reporters, Brooks’ teammates Ja Morant and De’Anthony Melton published cryptic tweets seemingly supporting his message.

Iguodala was sent from the Warriors to the Grizzlies in a July trade as Golden State cleared salary to bring in D’Angelo Russell. Although that trade was a salary dump that netted Memphis a first-round pick, the Grizzlies are confident Iguodala can be flipped for positive value and has insisted all season long they plan to move him rather than buy him out. The team has until Thursday afternoon to make that happen.

The Grizzlies and Iguodala reportedly reached a mutual agreement in the fall to have him remain away with the team, so the front office has no issue with his absence, but it’s not hard to see why some Grizzlies players may share Brooks’ sentiment.

When Iguodala talked in September about the trade, he recalled predicting in the summer that he’d be moved to “Memphis or some s–t,” implying that it was among the worst possible outcomes. And even as the upstart Grizzlies have outperformed expectations and moved into the playoff picture, the former Finals MVP has shown zero interest in playing for the team.

While a few young Grizzlies players may be eager to show Iguodala what he’s missing out on, veteran forward Jae Crowder took a more measured stance, as Barnes details.

“I would like to keep a lot of stuff in-house but we respect what he’s done,” Crowder said of Iguodala. “He’s a Hall-of-Famer. In my eyes, he’s a Hall-of-Famer. He’s proven in this league, so as long as he handled it like a professional, I believe he is. … I would not say that he’s been a distraction at all. Like I said, he hasn’t been here. But we respect what he wants at this time of his career, and you have to respect it.”

Ja Morant Sidelined With Back Spasms

Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant will be out of action on a “week-to-week basis” with back spasms, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The star point guard first hurt his back in Monday’s game at Indiana when he collided with a camera operator after a layup attempt, writes David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal. He was helped off the court and appeared to be pointing to the middle of his upper back, Cobb adds, but later returned to the game.

Morant scored just 11 points against the Jazz last night, shooting 4 of 13 from the field, and appeared to be bothered by back pain. He is off to a strong start in his first NBA season, averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists through 17 games.

Morant’s absence provides an opportunity for Tyus Jones, who came to Memphis this summer when the Timberwolves declined to match a three-year, $24MM offer sheet. He is averaging 19.3 minutes per night as a backup to Morant. Marko Guduric and De’Anthony Melton should also get an increase in playing time.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/14/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • One day after assigning the pair, the Bucks have recalled Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Dragan Bender from the team’s G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, according to a tweet from the team’s official account (link). Bender scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Herd’s win over the Capital City Go-Go on Wednesday, while Antetokounmpo finished with 14 points.
  • Like Milwaukee, the Kings recalled rookies Wenyen Gabriel and Justin James just one day after sending them both down to the team’s G League affiliate for a game (Twitter link). The Stockton Kings beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce yesterday, with Gabriel scoring 20 points and James adding 17.
  • Per a team press release, the Timberwolves have recalled forward Keita Bates-Diop from the Iowa Wolves, the team’s G League affiliate. Bates-Diop is averaging 22.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over two games in the G League this season.
  • The Clippers have recalled both center Mfiondu Kabengele and guard Derrick Walton Jr. from their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team’s official PR account tweeted out this afternoon. The pair was assigned on Tuesday.
  • With no practice on the schedule for today, the Grizzlies assigned guards Grayson Allen and De’Anthony Melton to the Memphis Hustle for their practice, according to a tweet from Memphis’ PR account (link). Allen’s assignment is in connection with rehab of his sore left ankle, while Melton’s is tied to a long-term conditioning and performance plan.

Grizzlies Notes: Bradley, Oubre, Morant, Melton

Avery Bradley only played 14 games with the Grizzlies, but he tells David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal that short stretch in Memphis helped him revitalize his career. Bradley re-emerged as a scorer after the Clippers shipped him to the Grizzlies at February’s trade deadline. He increased his average from 8.2 PPG in L.A. to 16.1 in Memphis and credits the freedom offered by then-coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

“J.B. gave me an opportunity to go out there and play my game,” Bradley said. “I’m thankful for that, I’m thankful for the city of Memphis. It’s home for me. My family is from Memphis and Mississippi. I’m going to miss it. It’s going to be nice when I come back and we play them there.”

The Grizzlies parted with Bradley in a cost-cutting move, waiving him in July and paying a $2MM guarantee instead of his $12.96MM salary. He signed with the Lakers a few days later for $4.8MM.

“Things were just unfortunate,” Bradley said of the end of his stay in Memphis. “There were a lot of changes. My time there was special.”

There’s more from Memphis:

  • Confusion shut down the Grizzlies’ attempts to trade for Kelly Oubre last season, and the roster would look much different now if that deal had gone through, Cobb notes in a mailbag column. Memphis believed it was parting with Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks, while the Wizards were expecting to receive Dillon Brooks. Washington wound up moving Oubre to Phoenix, where he has played well. But Cobb notes that if the Grizzlies had taken on his $15MM salary, they probably couldn’t have made room for Andre Iguodala in a deal that landed them a future first-round pick from the Warriors.
  • The Grizzlies are thrilled with the start by first-round pick Ja Morant, whose 70 points are the most in four games by any rookie in team history, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. In addition to his obvious athleticism, Morant has impressed coaches with how quickly he has adapted to the NBA game. “He’s got great chemistry with his teammates,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “His IQ is kind of helping him navigate day in and day out, game after game after game and the sky’s the limit for the guy.”
  • De’Anthony Melton considers his rookie year with the Suns to be a “learning experience” about life in the NBA (video link from The Arizona Republic). After playing 50 games and starting 31 in his first season, Melton was sent to Memphis in July in a four-player deal. It marked the second time he had been traded, after being dealt from Houston to Phoenix before playing his first game. “I’m not worried about one year; I’m worried about 10 years, 15 years,” Melton said. “People have had crazier stories.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/1/19

Here are Friday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • With the Celtics dealing with frontcourt injuries, they recalled rookie center Tacko Fall from the Maine Red Claws for tonight’s game against the Knicks, Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe tweets. The 7’5” Fall made his NBA debut on Saturday, contributing four points and three rebounds in four minutes against the Knicks.
  • The Wizards assigned swingman C.J. Miles to the Capital City Go-Go, the team’s PR department tweets. Miles joined them for a practice as he works his way back from a foot injury.
  • The Grizzlies assigned forward Bruno Caboclo and guard De’Anthony Melton to the Memphis Hustle, the team’s PR department tweets. They went there for practice and then were recalled. They’ll do the same on Sunday. Both have only made brief appearances in two games this season.