De’Anthony Melton

Sixers Guaranteeing De’Anthony Melton’s 2023/24 Salary

The Sixers are guaranteeing De’Anthony Melton‘s full salary for next season, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Melton’s 2023/24 salary was previously partially guaranteed at $1.5MM, but he will earn his full $8MM in 2023/24, according to Scotto. His early salary guarantee date is today, as our tracker shows.

A 6’2″ combo guard, Melton was the 46th overall pick of the 2018 draft out of USC. He spent his rookie season with the Suns before being traded to Memphis, where he spent the following three seasons.

The 76ers acquired Melton from the Grizzlies in draft-night deal last year. He had a solid debut season with Philadelphia in ’22/23, averaging 10.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.6 APG and 1.6 SPG while shooting 39% from three-point range in 77 games (58 starts, 27.9 MPG).

The move was expected, as Melton has a team-friendly contract. Known as a strong, versatile defensive player, the 25-year-old is entering the final year of his deal.

Melton is eligible for a veteran extension that could pay him up to $75MM over four years, as Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets. However, it seems unlikely that the Sixers will rush to extend Melton, considering they’re trying to preserve cap flexibility for next summer, Gozlan notes.

Sixers Notes: Harden, Embiid, Tucker, Melton

While Sixers stars Joel Embiid and James Harden have had a tendency to occasionally fall back on “my turn, your turn” style offense this season, their chemistry in Game 4 was what the team envisioned when it acquired Harden at last year’s deadline to pair him with Embiid, as David Aldridge of The Athletic writes.

Embiid and Harden combined for 76 points on 27-of-49 (55.1%) shooting in Sunday’s crucial home win. They were also involved in the biggest offensive possession of the night, when Embiid passed out of a double team with about 20 seconds left in overtime and found Harden, who hit a three-pointer to give Philadelphia a one-point win lead. That shot proved to be the game-winner.

“When we space the floor, and we do the things we need to do, it’ll find an open shot,” Harden said. “Not just me and Joel, but just everybody who’s open. Once we did that, tonight, we did that at a high level, consistently. And that’s just great offense for us.”

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • As Rich Hofmann of The Athletic writes, it has been a roller-coaster series so far for Harden, who has averaged 43.5 points per game on .622/.565/1.000 shooting in the Sixers’ two wins and 14.0 PPG on .179/.154/.842 shooting in the two losses. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports takes a look at what Harden’s performance in the present could mean for his future, noting that the guard’s name up frequently during the Rockets‘ interview process with head coaching candidates.
  • The 76ers’ decision to give P.J. Tucker a fully guaranteed three-year, $33MM contract last summer raised some eyebrows, but veteran postseason leadership the club sought from the 38-year-old was on full display in Game 4, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. After Embiid shied away from attacking Celtics center Al Horford during the final minutes of regulation, Tucker delivered a spirited on-court message to this season’s MVP. “Nobody can guard Jo, one-on-one. There’s no way,” Tucker said. “That’s not disrespect to Al or anybody else, but I guarded him for a lot of years. When he’s aggressive and assertive, it’s impossible. And I’d seen him, two or three plays in a row, not do that. And we can’t have that. We can’t have that. Not with the season in the line. We can’t have it.”
  • After letting a 16-point lead slip away, the Sixers looked like they might be headed for another devastating playoff loss on Sunday, but they pulled out a victory that head coach Doc Rivers attributed to the group’s improved “mental toughness,” as Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays. “We’ve just got veteran presence,” Embiid told ESPN. “Guys that know how to win, that know how to play. A lot of teams could have quit. But we just stuck together. We just got a different mindset this year.”
  • De’Anthony Melton, a new addition to the team ahead of the 2022/23 season, has emerged as a consistent bright spot for the 76ers in the postseason, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Melton went scoreless in Game 4 but had put up at last 13 points in four of the five games before that and has played strong, versatile defense.

Atlantic Notes: Maxey, Sixers, Horford, Trent, Barnes

Tyrese Maxey returned to the Sixers‘ starting lineup on Wednesday for the first time in over a month, replacing big man Joel Embiid. Interestingly, Maxey remained in the starting five on Thursday when Embiid was healthy, supplanting fellow guard De’Anthony Melton.

As Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice writes, when Melton first replaced Maxey in the starting five, the five-man group that featured Melton, Embiid, James Harden, Tobias Harris, and P.J. Tucker had a clear statistical advantage over the one that had Maxey in Melton’s spot, particularly on defense. However, in recent months, the five-man unit with Maxey alongside those four other starters has been the more effective lineup.

In Neubeck’s view, the Sixers should use the final few weeks of the season to get a long look at both lineups to assess their options entering the playoffs. However, he believes there’s a strong case to be made that it’s time to reincorporate Maxey into the starting five, based on how productive that group has been. Plus, as Neubeck outlines, starting Maxey means he’ll play alongside defensive anchor Embiid more often — that should benefit the young guard, who is frequently targeted on the defensive end.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers look like the clear winners in last year’s James Harden/Ben Simmons trade for the time being, but that could change if Harden leaves in free agency without winning a title in Philadelphia, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, noting that the Nets still control two of the 76ers’ future first-round picks (in 2023 and 2027) as part of that blockbuster deal.
  • It looked like Al Horford‘s NBA career might be winding down when he was traded in a salary-dump deal in 2020 following a failed stint in Philadelphia, but the 36-year-old has resurrected his career during his second stint with the Celtics. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has the story.
  • With recent acquisition Jakob Poeltl now part of the Raptors‘ starting lineup, Gary Trent Jr. is the team’s new sixth man. As Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes, that role looks like Trent’s best fit in Toronto going forward, so it will be interesting to see how it might affect the swingman’s free agency decision if the Raptors make it clear they want him to come off the bench beyond this season.
  • Scottie Barnes‘ sophomore season got off to a shaky start, but since January 1, the Raptors forward has looked more like the player that won the Rookie of the Year award last spring, as Spencer Davies of details.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Tatum, Sixers, Brunson

On Thursday, in their first game since Kevin Durant injured his knee, the Nets fell to Boston by a score of 109-98. In some ways, Ben Simmons was the most effective player on the court for the Nets, racking up 13 assists and nine rebounds while being the only Brooklyn player to register a positive on-court rating (plus-10). However, he also went scoreless on the night, attempting just three field goals.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Simmons admitted he was probably looking to pass too often, acknowledging that he needs to make it more of a priority to “get myself going,” per Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“Being assertive, being aggressive and knowing that my team needs that,” Simmons said when asked what his team needs from him while Durant is out. “I think I’m giving the ball up way too many times when I know who I am, I know I need to get to the rim, get buckets. And that’s also going to help my teammates get them going.”

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn, who is another one of just 18 players in NBA history to hand out at least 13 assists in a game without scoring a point, wasn’t bothered by Simmons’ performance, suggesting that the team needs him to compensate for Durant’s absence more on the other end of the court.

“My thing is going to be on the defensive end with Ben, the impact that he has to have without Kevin on the floor,” Vaughn said. “… Ben’s got to be able to protect the rim. Ben’s got to be able to be a force for us on the defensive end of the floor, so that we can play small, play three guards out there, so we can have shooting around.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Jaylen Brown isn’t the only Celtics star battling an injury — forward Jayson Tatum is dealing with issues affecting his thumb, ring finger, and wrist, but says he intends to continue playing through those ailments, per Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • In his latest mailbag for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Keith Pompey explores a handful of Sixers-related topics, including the team’s biggest need at the trade deadline and whether De’Anthony Melton could replace P.J. Tucker in the starting lineup. Pompey believes Philadelphia could use a reliable backup point guard and a big, physical center to back up Joel Embiid, and says he doesn’t expect Tucker to be removed from the starting five.
  • Jalen Brunson has only been with the Knicks for about six months, but it’s clear that they’re already his team, according to Ian O’Connor of The New York Post, who says Brunson is the best player on the roster and “it isn’t close.” The point guard has been at his best since returning from a recent three-game injury absence, averaging 33.3 PPG on .522/.500/.809 shooting in his last six contests, five of which were Knicks wins.

Sixers Notes: Melton, Maxey, Tucker, Harden

When the Sixers gave up a first-round pick and Danny Green‘s expiring contract for De’Anthony Melton, they knew they were getting a strong defender who could make a three-point shot, but the former Grizzlies guard has given them “more connective tissue in the half court” than they might have expected, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link).

Melton’s play-making and screening ability has been valuable for Philadelphia, according to Lowe, who notes that the team has scored an average of 1.2 points when a Melton screen leads directly to a shot. That’s 17th among 244 players who have set 50 such screens, Lowe writes, citing Second Spectrum. The 24-year-old has also handed out a career-best 3.3 assists per game.

Melton’s presence has helped the 76ers withstand injury absences for James Harden and Tyrese Maxey in the early part of the 2022/23 season. Despite not opening the season as part of Philadelphia’s starting five, Melton has made 20 starts in 27 appearances so far.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Given how well the 76ers have played with Melton in the starting lineup (they have a 13-7 record in those games), there has been some speculation about the possibility of bringing Maxey off the bench as the leader of the second unit when he returns from his foot injury. Kyle Neubeck of considers the case for making such a move, but ultimately concludes that it’s probably not in the team’s best interest.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Keith Pompey also argues against making Maxey the sixth man once he’s healthy. Pompey’s mailbag explores several other topics, including whether the Sixers’ three-year, $33MM+ investment in P.J. Tucker will turn out as poorly as the four-year, $109MM deal they gave Al Horford in 2019 — given the relative size of the two deals, Pompey believes there’s no comparison between the two, especially since Horford was never a good fit, while Tucker is beginning to show overall improvement in his role.
  • In his first seven games back from a foot injury, Harden has averaged nearly 39 minutes per night. However, head coach Doc Rivers isn’t concerned about the former MVP’s heavy recent workload, per Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’ll guarantee you, by the end of the year, you’ll look at his numbers and they’ll look great,” Rivers said. “It’s a whole year. That’s why we can’t overdo things when guys have a three-week spike in minutes and all of a sudden we’re overreacting to that. You don’t. We’ve been low on guards, and so guys have to play minutes. And James is one of those guys that can handle minutes. But by the end of the year, his minutes will be down.”

Sixers Notes: Melton, Rivers, Harden, Embiid

De’Anthony Melton had his best game since joining the Sixers – and arguably the best game of his career – on Friday night. The fifth-year guard established new career bests by scoring 33 points, making eight 3-pointers, and racking up seven steals in Philadelphia’s overtime victory over the Lakers.

As Kyle Neubeck of writes, Melton was a difference-maker in a game the 76ers almost gave away and continues to show why the team was willing to give up a first-round pick for him in the offseason. Melton is averaging 11.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 2.3 SPG in his first 23 games in Philadelphia (29.5 MPG), making 38.5% of his 3-point attempts and playing strong perimeter defense.

Melton has enjoyed a career year despite battling a back issue — he has hardly practiced at all this season, Joel Embiid told reporters on Friday. Melton has instead used the team’s off days to take care of his body and go through what he calls a “maintenance” process, according to Neubeck.

“I’ll take (Melton not practicing) every time if he’s going to show up to the game and do what he does every single night,” Embiid said. “He knows it, I appreciate the effort, because I find myself in that same situation quite a bit, and every single chance that I can even when I’m hurt, I want to be on the floor. So to be able to do the same even though he’s dealing with a back injury, I appreciate the effort.”

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • In two more articles for, Neubeck considers why the Sixers have been hard to watch this season and fields readers’ mailbag questions, discussing Doc Rivers‘ job security, among other topics. Although he doesn’t believe Rivers is a lock to make it through the season, Neubeck does think the veteran coach has “more security than people on social media want him to have.”
  • James Harden has been a Sixer for only 10 months and has played with Joel Embiid in just eight games so far this season, so head coach Doc Rivers is preaching patience, telling reporters this week that the pairing is “going to take time” to fully jell, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. As Pompey observes, Harden favors an isolation-heavy style of play and is ball-dominant, while Embiid thrives when the offense flows through him. The duo had perhaps its best game this season as a tandem on Friday, totaling 66 points and 17 assists.
  • There has been plenty of speculation about whether Embiid will choose to play for the U.S. or France in the 2024 Olympics, but the star center isn’t interested in discussing his FIBA future during the NBA season, as Marc Stein writes at Substack. “I don’t want to talk about international stuff,” Embiid told Stein. “I’m focused on us getting better as a team and me getting better as a player. I’m focused on making it to the playoffs and doing something there. I’m gonna worry about the rest later. For now, it’s all about trying to do whatever is possible to win a championship.”

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Mitchell, Melton, VanVleet

After an unsuccessful outing against his former team Saturday afternoon, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson sought to take some heat off coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Brunson had a season-low 13 points and was minus-26 overall in his first game against Dallas since leaving in free agency.

The 21-point loss drew boos from the Madison Square Garden crowd as the Knicks suffered their seventh defeat in their last eight home games. Thibodeau has become a target for the fans, but Brunson insists the downturn isn’t his fault.

“Coach Thibs has done a great job,” Brunson said. “He’s been able to put us in positions where we need to succeed. I think he knows where to put those puzzle pieces. It’s just on us to actually execute and do things. So it’s just — I know he’s going to get a lot of the blame, guys are going to get some of the blame. It’s on us. We’re the players out there not battling. It’s his job to put us in positions, which he’s done.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks will get a reminder of their most significant decision of the summer when Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers come to town Sunday night, Bondy adds. Team president Leon Rose’s refusal to part with a large amount of draft capital after extensive trade talks with Utah is looking like a “backfire,” according to Bondy.
  • De’Anthony Melton is making an impact on defense for the Sixers after being acquired in a draft night trade, notes Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Melton is second in the league with 2.0 steals per game and ranks first overall with a 3.6% steal percentage. “I think De’Anthony’s a very easy guy to play with,” coach Doc Rivers said. “… He defends. And I think guys who defend always have a little more longitude to do whatever. Guys respect that. You want to get respect in a locker room? Go stop somebody and you’ll get it, and I think De’Anthony has that.”
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet isn’t overreacting to two bad road games, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. VanVleet said the losses at New Orleans and Brooklyn can be part of a growing experience. “I think we’ve got to learn how to be a team,” he said. “We have to learn to play together a little bit more, be professional, be a little bit more ready to go. You can find excuses in this league every night — there are a million of them — or you can show up and play the game the way it is supposed to be played.”

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Robinson, Celtics, Melton

The Knicks used just nine players on Tuesday for the first time this season, removing Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes from their rotation entirely, says Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The trimmed-down rotation was effective, as the team picked up a nice road win in Utah, beating the Jazz 118-111.

“We wanted to see what it would look like and it gave us, I thought, better rhythm,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s why we did it.”

Fournier’s role has gradually diminished over the course of the season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t get another shot at regular minutes right away. However, Grimes is considered a key part of the Knicks’ future and seems unlikely to be out of the rotation on a permanent basis.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Thibodeau said on Tuesday that Knicks center Mitchell Robinson is “making good progress” in his recovery from a sprained right knee, but it remains unclear when he’ll be cleared to return, Braziller writes for The New York Post. According to Braziller, although Robinson is doing some work in practices, he’s not yet taking contact.
  • In the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that people around the NBA think Spurs center Jakob Poeltl may be a trade target that appeals to the Celtics, given the uncertainty surrounding Robert Williams‘ health. “The question is, ‘Does this team need to go out and get another big man who can defend?'” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The name that has come up that people have speculated has been Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs. They did a deal with the Spurs last year, obviously, for Derrick White.” Poeltl is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023 and it’s unclear if San Antonio views him as part of the team’s long-term plan.
  • While his arrival in the offseason was somewhat overshadowed by James Harden‘s pay cut and the signing of P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton has proved invaluable to the Sixers due to his versatility and defensive ability, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Joel Embiid, De’Anthony Melton Out Wednesday For Sixers

Sixers star center Joel Embiid will miss his second consecutive game against the Wizards on Wednesday with a non-COVID illness, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. According to head coach Doc Rivers, Embiid has the flu.

As Pompey notes, Embiid also missed Friday’s game vs. Toronto with right knee soreness, but returned during Saturday’s victory over the Bulls. In six games this season (34.5 MPG), the five-time All-Star is averaging 27.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.3 APG and 1.2 BPG on .532/.300/.788 shooting.

In addition to Embiid, Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton will also miss Wednesday’s game with back stiffness, and Matisse Thybulle will start in his place, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Melton, who was acquired in a trade with Memphis this offseason, had previously started the two games that Embiid was sidelined, with the Sixers opting to go small and sliding P.J. Tucker up to center. Melton performed well in both victories, and is averaging 9.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.3 APG and 2.0 SPG on .517/.407/1.000 shooting through eight games (22.5 MPG) in 2022/23.

The Sixers started the season 0-3, but have won four of their past five games to even their record at 4-4, while the Wizards have dropped three straight after guard Delon Wright suffered a strained hamstring and currently sit with a 3-4 record. Wednesday’s game has an unusually early tip off, beginning at 6:00pm ET.

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.