As expected, veteran forward Nicolò Melli has officially reached a deal with Olimipa Milano. The Italian club announced today in a press release that Melli has signed a three-year contract with his former team.
Melli, 30, played for Olimpia Milano from 2010-15 and has spent time with a handful of other European clubs since beginning his pro career in 2007. He made his NBA debut in 2019 with the Pelicans and has since appeared in a total of 105 games (15.3 MPG) for New Orleans and Dallas, averaging 5.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 1.2 APG on .392/.316/.745 shooting.
Melli was involved in the March trade that sent J.J. Redick from the Pelicans to the Mavericks and played a part-time role for Dallas down the stretch. However, the 6’9″ Italian, who is expected to play for Italy in the Olympics later this month, will return to his home country for the 2021/22 season and beyond.
“Nicolò has always been at the center of our thoughts,” Olimpia Milano GM Christos Stavropoulos said in a statement. “He is the right player, in his prime, a player we were looking for as the emblem of the team player on top of having unquestionable skills. To be able to bring him back, after six years and a great career abroad, is reason for us to be extremely proud. This is a happy day for all of us.”
Melli had been eligible for restricted free agency with Dallas. If the Mavs want to retain their matching rights in the event that the forward eventually returns to the NBA, they’ll have to issue a qualifying offer.
Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reported earlier this week that Melli was on track to rejoin Olimpia Milano. Carchia also said the team was close to a deal with veteran shooting guard Troy Daniels, but there has been no official announcement yet on that one.