De'Anthony Melton

Sixers Notes: Harden, Morey, Melton, Queen, Joe

With James Harden‘s new contract complete, the Sixers will be able to get a long-term look at what he can do for the organization. Harden played just 21 regular season games after being acquired from Brooklyn at the trade deadline, and there were concerns about his conditioning during that time. He dealt with a hamstring injury that affected his workout schedule last summer, but now he has the benefit of a full, healthy offseason and some familiarity with his teammates heading into training camp.

President of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was determined to reacquire Harden after having him in Houston, expressed his delight about the new deal in a press release distributed by the Sixers.

“He is one of the best scorers and passers to ever play, and his knowledge of the game allows him to dissect defenses and make everyone around him better,” Morey said. “James’ commitment to winning continues to resonate throughout our organization, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in his partnership with Joel (Embiid) and this talented roster. This is an exciting time for our franchise.”  

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice sets some goals for Harden for the upcoming season, which include helping the Sixers build a top-eight offense, playing at least 70 games, and leading the NBA in assists. Neubeck notes that Harden was second in assists last season and should benefit from the additional shooting provided by P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
  • De’Anthony Melton, who was acquired from the Grizzlies in a draft-night trade, could be a major bargain, Neubeck adds in a mailbag column. Melton’s ability to guard multiple types of players and his versatility on offense make it easy to fit him into numerous lineups. Neubeck notes that Melton was extremely effective in Memphis when he was paired with another ball-handler, and he figures to see a lot of minutes beside both Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
  • Isaiah Joe and Trevelin Queen are likely to battle for the final roster spot in training camp, Neubeck adds. Queen holds a $330K guarantee for the upcoming season, along with a non-guaranteed deal for 2023/24. Joe will have a fully guaranteed $1.78MM salary if he remains on the roster through October 23.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Durant, Brogdon, Melton, Knicks

The potential price tag for acquiring Kevin Durant isn’t what should matter most to the Raptors, argues Scott Stinson of The National Post, who says that determining whether Durant would actually be motivated and invested in playing for Toronto should be the most important factor for the team’s lead decision-makers.

As Stinson writes, Durant’s motivation in asking for a trade out of Brooklyn remains a bit nebulous, especially since he just signed a four-year extension last August. That should concern vice chairman and president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, because dealing for a superstar who might not be engaged or on the same page as the club could be disastrous, according to Stinson.

Drawing parallels between Ujiri’s trade for Kawhi Leonard in the 2018 offseason to the Durant sweepstakes now doesn’t make sense, per Stinson, because the situations aren’t similar.

Leonard was coming off an injury that caused him to miss almost the entire 2017/18 season, was on an expiring contract, and the Raptors teams led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan had been given ample time to breakthrough in the East, but couldn’t get past LeBron James. The Raptors finished second in the East in the two years after Leonard left Toronto, so obviously the team remained competitive and didn’t mortgage its future to acquire him, Stinson writes.

Durant, on the other hand, has four years remaining on his deal, so obviously it will cost significantly more to land him, plus the current version of the Raptors is ascendant, with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., and Precious Achiuwa among the new additions who made significant contributions to a team that improved its win total from 27 to 48. Dealing away from an emerging core only for Durant to balk at the idea of staying could put Toronto in a hole that would be difficult to climb out of, says Stinson.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Could a lesser role on the Celtics benefit Malcolm Brogdon from a health perspective? “The knock against him coming out of college is that he had terrible knees,” a rival general manager told Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “I mean, some of the examinations were really suspect in terms of how long his lower body would be able to take NBA pounding. So that’s why he ended up going in the second round, because he was damn near red-flagged. So the fact of the matter is he’s probably better off coming off the bench with limited minutes, trying to be impactful in 18 rather than trying to play 30 and always being injured. The question becomes how he’ll accept that.” Boston reportedly views Brogdon as a sixth man, and he said shortly after the deal was announced that he’s motivated to win a championship and is willing to sacrifice his individual stats for the betterment of the team.
  • De’Anthony Melton believes he’s a “great fit” for the Sixers, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscriber link). “Once I saw the team, I’m like, ‘OK, that’s a great spot,'” Melton told The Inquirer by phone last week. “That’s a great fit for me. … I understand what this team needs. I understand what this team is trying to do. I’m ready for the task at hand. I’m ready for whatever’s to come.” Melton was acquired from the Grizzlies in exchange for the No. 23 pick (David Roddy) and Danny Green in a draft-day swap.
  • Signing free agent guard Jalen Brunson was a solid move for the Knicks but they still look like a play-in team on paper, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post opines. According to O’Connor, while Brunson is a good player and the best point guard the Knicks will employ in years, neither he nor RJ Barrett or Julius Randle are capable of being the best — or second-best — players on a championship-caliber team, and unless something drastic changes, New York will begin 2022/23 as “just another barely relevant club.”

Grizzlies Trade De’Anthony Melton To Sixers For Roddy, Green

JUNE 24: The deal is now official, both teams announced in press releases.


JUNE 23: The Grizzlies and Sixers have agreed to a trade that will send the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft to Memphis and guard De’Anthony Melton to Philadelphia, a source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Danny Green is also headed to the Grizzlies in the swap, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Colorado State’s David Roddy will be Memphis’ pick at No. 23. Roddy had an excellent junior season for the Rams, averaging 19.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.1 BPG on .571/.438/.691 shooting in 31 games (32.9 MPG).

In order for the trade to work, Green’s non-guaranteed contract will have to be partially guaranteed to at least $6.52MM for salary matching purposes, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets. Melton will earn $8.25MM next season and his $8MM salary in 2023/24 is partially guaranteed at $1.5MM.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), the Sixers would lose the full mid-level exception with the deal unless they’re able to dump salary in subsequent moves, which could take them out of the running for P.J. Tucker, who is an unrestricted free agent after declining his player option.

Trading a guard in Melton and drafting a couple of forwards in Jake LaRavia and Roddy seems to indicate that Memphis wants to re-sign free agent Tyus Jones, who is one of the top point guards on the market. Jones has led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio for four straight seasons and set career highs in PPG (8.7) and 3PT% (.390) in 2021/22.

It was reported multiple times in the past couple weeks that the Sixers were dangling the No. 23 pick and Green’s expiring, non-guaranteed deal in an effort to add a win-now veteran, and they were able to acquire a talented young player in Melton, who had reportedly drawn considerable interest around the league.

Melton, 24, is a strong, versatile defender capable of playing both guard positions. In 73 regular season games this past season (22.7 MPG), he averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.4 SPG on .404/.374/.750 shooting. He’s extension-eligible this offseason, although the Sixers might hold off on that decision.

Sixers, Suns Pursuing Rockets’ Eric Gordon?

The Sixers and Suns are two of the teams interested in a trade with the Rockets for veteran guard Eric Gordon, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Gordon, who averaged 13.4 PPG and shot 41.2% from 3-point range this past season, will make $19.57MM next season and has another non-guaranteed season left on his contract after that. Gordon could provide a perimeter boost to either playoff contender and would reunite with former Rockets teammate Chris Paul if he winds up in Phoenix.

Windhorst and Zach Lowe offered a number of interesting nuggets on ESPN’s NBA Today (video link):

  • The Sixers also have interest in veteran forward P.J. Tucker, who is opting out of the final year of his contract with the Heat.
  • The Hawks are looking at “five or six potential deals,” according to Windhorst, with everyone but Trae Young and possibly De’Andre Hunter in play. They could part with the No. 16 pick in certain scenarios.
  • The Hornets aren’t expected to hold onto both of their first-round picks at No. 13 and No. 15 and might even move both of them, along with a big salary, as they try to clear cap space to re-sign restricted free agent Miles Bridges. Charlotte could also be angling for the Pacers’ Myles Turner, according to Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies, with two picks late in the first round, are looking to clear a backcourt logjam and could move up or down the draft board as they try to maximize their trade chips. De’Anthony Melton, in particular, has drawn “a lot” of interest around the NBA, says Lowe.

Stein’s Latest: Grizzlies, Mavs, Pistons, Schröder, Bagley

After reporting over the weekend that the Grizzlies, who hold the 22nd and 29th overall picks in this Thursday’s draft, are “trying hard” to move up, Marc Stein says in his latest Substack report that Memphis is among the teams that has explored the possibility of acquiring the No. 4 overall pick from the Kings.

It would be a challenge for the Grizzlies to entice the Kings to move that fourth overall pick without a lottery selection of their own to offer in return. As Stein observes, Memphis would probably have to offer up at least one member of its veteran core to pique Sacramento’s interest — Stein mentions Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke as possibilities.

Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who confirms that the Grizzlies are trying to trade up from No. 22, suggests that the team has proposed package that includes various veterans, including De’Anthony Melton. However, Woo says Memphis has been trying to move “into the teens,” which is a more realistic goal than getting all the way up to No. 4.

Here are a few more items of interest from Stein:

  • Having agreed to acquire Christian Wood from Houston, the Mavericks are “far less likely” to make use of their $10.9MM trade exception, a source tells Stein. That exception, which will expire after June 27, would allow Dallas to acquire nearly $11MM in salary without sending out any salary of their own, but the Mavs already project to be well over the luxury tax line, especially if they re-sign Jalen Brunson, so they’ll be wary about continuing to spend.
  • While the Pistons have been cited as a potential suitor for Brunson, Stein hears from sources that they’ve been considering targeting Dennis Schröder as a more cost-effective option in the backcourt.
  • Stein also confirms that the Pistons continue to be linked to free agent center Mitchell Robinson and have “very strong interest” in re-signing former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III.
  • In case you missed it, Stein also passed along several Hawks-related tidbits, which we round up right here.

Southwest Notes: Melton, Grizzlies, Silas, Wood

Should Tyus Jones find a lucrative deal in free agency this summer, the Grizzlies may have a ready-made replacement on the roster in De’Anthony Melton, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Melton was a solid contributor for Memphis this season, averaging 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals on .404/.374/.750 shooting in 73 regular season games (22.7 minutes). He’s also an impressive, versatile defender capable of playing both guard positions.

Melton’s postseason stats dropped off considerably, as he averaged 5.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steal on .323/.250/.750 shooting in 10 games (17 minutes). Still, he’s only 23 years old and certainly looks capable of continued improvement.

Ball-handling, getting that one-two go-to getting my shot off,” Melton said when naming offseason improvements. “I think I realized how effective my jump-shooting is this year. I just got to learn how to get to it more and get to it more efficiently.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Grizzlies had a wildly successful season despite falling to the Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals, finishing with a 56-26 regular season record — the second-best mark in the NBA — after many predicted they’d be in the play-in tournament prior to the season. They also have the flexibility to make major moves this summer if they so choose, with a great young roster, cap space, all of their own future first-round picks, and the Nos. 22, 29, and 47 picks in the upcoming draft. Yet all that flexibility might lead to a quiet offseason, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who reports that the team has informed agents it intends to either select a draft-and-stash prospect or a two-way player with the 47th pick due to a lack of roster spots.
  • In an interview with Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Rockets coach Stephen Silas said one of his primary focuses for next season will be improving the team’s defense, which ranked 29th in the league in 2021/22. “I want to be a better defensive team. We just have to be, and for young guys, that’s hard. Hard for them to grasp the defensive end and be able to anticipate what’s coming. To see a set develop and know where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there and be there on time. I want to improve on the defensive end,” Silas said.
  • In a separate article for The Athletic, Iko examines Christian Wood‘s fit on the Rockets‘ roster going forward. Sources tell Iko that rival teams remain interested in Wood’s services despite his sometimes childish behavior, which makes sense considering the 26-year-old averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds on .501/.390/.623 shooting in ’21/22. He’ll be on an expiring $14.3MM contract next season.

Taylor Jenkins: “We Are The Furthest Thing From Dirty”

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins is defending his team against accusations of “dirty” play, writes Drew Hill of The Daily Memphian.

The label started after Dillon Brooks was ejected from Tuesday’s game following a flagrant two foul that knocked Warriors guard Gary Payton II out of the series. Brooks has been suspended for Saturday’s Game 3, and Golden State coach Steve Kerr said he “broke the code” regarding safety among NBA players.

“I also wanted to address a narrative out there that was said between Game 1 and Game 2,” Jenkins said. “It was said that we have to play more physical, and the word dirty has been thrown out there. I look at my locker room and I look at our culture and what we exude — we are the furthest thing from dirty. We are competitive. I want that to be squashed pretty quick here. I know words only mean so much right here. We feel for what Payton is going through and that’s not going to change the course of action, but our guys are going to rally and focus on Game 3.”

Jenkins added that the league has been communicating with Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman since Tuesday night about the possibility that Brooks could be suspended. That gave Jenkins additional time to work on a game plan without Brooks available.

Brooks is Memphis’ best perimeter defender and is extremely valuable in countering the Warriors’ small-ball lineup. He has also become an important part of the offense, averaging a career-best 18.4 points per game this season.

“It’s disappointing,” Jenkins said of the suspension. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance and we will honor the league’s decision. It’s a tough play. We wish Gary Payton a speedy and healthy recovery. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

Brooks’ absence on Saturday will likely mean a larger role for rookie Ziaire Williams, who served as the primary defender on Stephen Curry after Brooks was tossed from Game 2, Hill adds. De’Anthony Melton, who had three blocks and two steals on Tuesday, should see more time as well.

“It’s going to be even more of a grind,” Melton said. “It’s going to take mental focus and physical focus even more. We’ve played without guys before, and great teams without guys. We just have to go in and continue to play hard and play our game and have fun.” 

Central Rumors: P. Williams, Turner, Pangos, Pistons

The Bulls remain, for the most part, unwilling to discuss injured forward Patrick Williams in trade talks leading up to next Thursday’s trade deadline, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said this week on Chad Ford’s podcast. According to Fischer, Chicago could potentially be convinced to part with Williams, but only in a deal that significantly upgraded the team’s chances of competing for a title.

“From the people I’ve talked to in Chicago, it’s been made very clear to me that they are not going to consider moving (Williams) unless it’s for the piece,” Fischer said, per HoopsHype. “Not a piece but the piece that they think will push them to that championship.”

Such a deal seems unlikely to materialize at this year’s deadline for the Bulls, who probably don’t view a player of Jerami Grant‘s caliber as that sort of major difference-maker.

Here are a few more items from around the Central:

  • Fischer said on that same Chad Ford podcast that he has heard Pacers center Myles Turner might be ready to return from his foot injury shortly after the All-Star break (hat tip to HoopsHype). Barring setbacks, Fischer thinks Turner will be back in early March at the latest.
  • Longtime EuroLeague standout Kevin Pangos finally made the move to the NBA last year, but he hasn’t played much for the Cavaliers and doesn’t have a guaranteed contract beyond this season, resulting in speculation that he’ll return to Europe sooner rather than later. Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com stated on his podcast this week that CSKA Moscow is pushing to land Pangos as soon as this month should Cleveland decide to waive him.
  • James L. Edwards III and John Hollinger of The Athletic are unconvinced that the Pistons will end up moving Jerami Grant at the deadline, with Hollinger observing that the contending teams who could most use Grant to push them over the top would likely be wary about giving him a major role on offense. Hollinger adds that he views Bucks swingman Donte DiVincenzo and Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton as a couple ideal trade targets for the Pistons, though there’s no indication the team has inquired on either player.

COVID Updates: Green, Brooks, Bazley, Augustin, Scrubb, Niang, Neto

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • Warriors star forward Draymond Green has entered the protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Green joined four other Warriors in the protocols heading into a pair of games against Denver.
  • The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton and Yves Pons all entered the protocols prior to their game against Sacramento on Sunday, the team’s PR department tweets. Memphis now has five players under those restrictions.
  • Darius Bazley became the first Thunder player in protocols, Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic tweets.
  • Veteran Rockets guard D.J. Augustin has entered the health and safety protocols, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Clippers two-way player Jay Scrubb has been placed in the protocols, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Wizards guard Raul Neto has joined two other Washington players in the protocols, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets.
  • Two Hornets regulars, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington, are now in the protocols, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • On the positive side, Sixers forward Georges Niang has cleared the protocols, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

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.