Fab Melo

Former NBA Player Fab Melo Passes Away

Former NBA big man Fab Melo has passed away at the age of 26, according to Adam Zagoria of the New York Times (Twitter link). Melo had a heart attack while he was sleeping and he was found in his home, according to Gabriel Andrade of SporTV (Twitter link).

Melo was selected by the Celtics with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He played six games in the NBA for Boston during the 2012/13 campaign but mostly spent the year in the D-League.

Melo was a McDonald’s All-American in high school and he played two seasons at Syracuse University where he earned the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award. The big man most recently played for Brazilia of the Brazilian Novo Basquete Brasil league in his native country.

Hoops Rumors sends its best wishes and condolences to Melo’s family and friends.

And-Ones: Parker, Brewer, Melo

The minimum salaries for Khris Middleton and Draymond Green became fully guaranteed at the end of Friday when they remained on the rosters of the Bucks and Warriors, respectively, according to the salary data that Mark Deeks of ShamSports compiles.  Justin Hamilton of the Heat earned a partial guarantee of $408,241 when Miami kept him through Friday, while Cavs power forward Erik Murphy wound up with a partial guarantee of $100K.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • This has been a whirlwind offseason with numerous players changing teams. Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders looks at five players who will benefit most from their change of scenery.
  • Brazilian big man Fab Melo is returning home to sign with Paulistano of his native country, the team announced Friday (hat tip to Sportando). The Celtics selected Melo with the 22nd pick in 2012, but the seven footer only played six games in the NBA in 2012/13 and bounced around the D-League last season after failing the make the Mavs roster in training camp.
  • Former NBA player Darius Johnson-Odom has signed with Acqua Vitasnella Cantù of the Italian League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Johnson-Odom appeared in three games for the Sixers as well as seeing stints in China and the NBA D-League last season.
  • Spurs GM R.C. Buford indicated that the team and newly-extended point guard Tony Parker had a mutual interest in an agreement, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links here). “His play warranted the commitment of the organization,” Buford said. “He made a commitment to our organization, too, by doing this now and taking himself out of a free agency opportunity a year from now. It was important to him and us to capitalize off the momentum this year creates and not have to worry about it at a later date.”
  • The Timberwolves aren’t willing to move Corey Brewer in any deal involving Kevin Love, reports Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press (Twitter link). Brewer is staying in Minnesota, writes Krawczynski.

Chuck Myron and Alex Lee contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Deng, Dwight, Union, Gay

Luol Deng had a sarcastic response to a question about whether he’d consider returning to the Bulls in free agency this summer, poking fun at the team’s three-year, $30MM extension offer that he rejected, notes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Still, Deng won’t rule out a Chicago homecoming.

“I have nothing against (anyone),” Deng said. “What happened, happened. I love Chicago. I’ve been there 10 years. There’s no bad blood or anything. What happened, happened. It is what it is. But for me to sit here and say, ‘I’m taking Chicago out of the equation,’ that’s stupid. I was there for 10 years.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard is returning to USA Basketball after a six-year absence with eyes on being a part of the Team USA squad in the basketball World Cup this summer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
  • A judge has dismissed the remaining charges in the lawsuit that former players union executive director Billy Hunter brought against Derek Fisher, and Hunter could be on the hook for Fisher’s legal fees, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com explains. The ruling doesn’t affect Hunter’s litigation claiming the union owes him $10.5MM.
  • report last month indicated the Kings would engage Rudy Gay in extension talks if he performed well, and in spite of his improved play, the team and his reps at Octagon Sports have yet to have that discussion, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Gay scored a career-high 41 points last night.
  • The Grizzlies have no interest in trading for Pau Gasol, and the Lakers won’t compromise their cap flexibility in any Gasol swap, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who thinks the Spanish center will stay put through the deadline (Sulia link).
  • The extension that two-year NBA veteran Charles Jenkins signed with his Serbian team includes an escape clause in case he finds work in the NBA, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia tweets.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com details the convoluted maneuvers that have allowed the D-League affiliate of the Mavericks to acquire Fab Melo. The 2012 first-round pick signed a D-League contract last week.

D-League Notes: Melo, Wright, Covington

The latest from the NBA Developmental League..

  • A team source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest that Fab Melo has entered his name into the D-League player pool.  Last season, Melo spent 33 games of his rookie season with the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate. Melo, who bounced around a bit during his short professional career, is likely headed back to the NBADL with hopes of landing a ten-day contract
  • Chris Wright, a current member of the Red Claws, is playing well and hopes to bag a ten-day deal with an NBA team, Pilato writes.  On the season, Wright is averaging 21.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. He’s also averaging 36.2 minutes in 20 games so far. A small forward from Dayton, he’s not to be confused with the former Georgetown shooting guard by the same name.
  • Rockets rookie Robert Covington is back from the D-League as Houston wants to have plenty of bodies in practice this week, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.  However, it’s not clear if this is a prelude to Covington officially getting recalled to the varsity squad.

Mavs Waive Balkman, Ebanks, Kennedy, Melo

5:02pm: The Mavs have waived Renaldo Balkman, Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy and Fab Melo, the team announced via press release. The move makes official the news about Balkman that he himself revealed earlier today, and leaves Mickey McConnell as the team’s only camp invitee left. McConnell, a 24-year-old guard, was the only player without NBA experience that Dallas brought to camp, but it appears as though he might have made the strongest impression. Still, it seems unlikely he’ll remain with the club through the end of the week, since the Mavs would have to cut someone on a fully guaranteed deal to keep him.

It’s the second time in two months that Melo has hit waivers, after the Grizzlies let him go in late August. That was shortly after Memphis acquired him from the Celtics, and it appears the NBA career of the center whom Boston drafted 22nd overall in 2012 is in jeopardy. Ebanks turned down a $650K offer from China to sign with the Mavs, so perhaps he’ll head overseas, if the Chinese club is still interested. An Italian team had interest in Kennedy before he indicated he would prefer to sign in the NBA, so he could be headed for international ball, too.

Balkman admits his violent incident while playing in the Philippines last year could make some front offices squeamish, but his camp stint with the Mavs, where coach Rick Carlisle counted him as a welcome presence, could help his chances of returning to the NBA at some point. All four players the Mavs waived today were on non-guaranteed deals, so the team isn’t on the hook for any of their salaries.

4:57pm: Renaldo Balkman has told Puerto Rican radio station TAB Deportes 101.3 that the Mavs have let him go (Twitter link; translation via Sportando). The team has yet to officially announce the move, but the subtraction would be no surprise, since he’s one of five players with non-guaranteed deals on the Mavs, who have 15 others on fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster counts show.

Southwest Links: Melo, Mavs, Rockets, Leuer

Let’s round up a few Wednesday notes out of the Southwest Division….

  • Fab Melo‘s size should give him a chance to make the Mavericks‘ opening night roster, though the fact that Dallas is carrying 15 guaranteed contracts will make it an uphill battle, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. According to Sefko, if Melo were to displace a player with a guaranteed deal, Bernard James would likely be the odd man out.
  • While the Mavs will have to cut at least five players from their current 20-man roster eventually, head coach Rick Carlisle tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he’s in no rush to do so.
  • Most NBA players are happy to land multiyear contracts rather than annually revisiting the free agent process. But as Mark Deeks explains in a piece for HoopsWorld, longer-term deals that are heavily non-guaranteed are far more advantageous to teams than players. Deeks points to the Rockets as a team that frequently takes advantage of the benefits of non-guaranteed deals, using Omri Casspi‘s two-year pact as an example.
  • When the Grizzlies first acquired Jon Leuer from the Cavaliers, he looked like a throw-in in a cost-cutting deal. However, Memphis re-signed Leuer to a three-year contract with two guaranteed seasons this summer, and as he tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the former Wisconsin Badger is “really happy” with his situation.

Mavericks Notes: Calderon, Melo, Free Agents

A few notes about the Mavericks:

  • Former Celtics center Fab Melo is excited for his fresh start with the Mavericks, writes the Star-Telegram’s Dwain Price.
  • Mark Cuban has long held the belief that acquiring a player in a contract year is smart business because he’ll be looking to give maximum effort in his attempt at locking up a long-term deal. But this season the Mavericks decided to go a different route, signing Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, and others to multi-year deals, writes Dallas Morning News reporter Eddie Sefko.
  • According to The Dallas Mornings News’ Eddie Sefko, point guard Jose Calderon will be held out of the preseason’s next two games as he deals with a strained hamstring. Calderon has yet to play a minute with the team. With several incoming players in their backcourt, it’ll be interesting to see if any new faces can take advantage of an increase in playing time—perhaps enough so to make the team.

Western Notes: Henry, Wolves, Jazz, Melo

We’ve heard players like Omer Asik and Marcin Gortat mentioned repeatedly as possible trade candidates for the coming season, and both players earn a spot on Sam Smith‘s list of 10 players most likely to be traded at Bulls.com. Smith also includes a few surprises among his 10 names though, including a pair of power forwards on Western Conference playoff teams: Zach Randolph and David Lee. I’d be surprised to see either player go anywhere, but as we saw a year ago with James Harden and the Thunder, contending teams aren’t always averse to moving key players.

Here are a few more Monday items out of the West:

  • Asked if Xavier Henry‘s play this fall is solidifying his spot on the regular season roster, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters, including John Ireland and Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), “I would think so.”
  • With CSKA Moscow set to play an exhibition game against the Timberwolves tonight, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities notes that a couple players on the Russian squad – Milos Teodosic and Sonny Weems – could interest the T-Wolves, or have been pursued by the team in the past (Twitter links).
  • Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are both eligible for contract extensions this month, but the Jazz don’t necessarily have to treat them equally, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune. In Kragthorpe’s opinion, Utah should extend Hayward now and wait on Favors.
  • It’s not clear if Fab Melo will earn a roster spot with the Mavericks, but the young center doesn’t sound unhappy to be out of Boston. Melo tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Celtics “didn’t give [him] a chance” last season, “even in practice” (Twitter link).

Contract Details: Melo, Sixers, Williams, Morris

With most of the top free agents off the board by mid-July, September generally consists of minimum-salary signings with little or no guaranteed money. That's certainly the case for most of the contracts mentioned below, but since we at Hoops Rumors are interested in the minutiae of teams' cap moves, we'll pass along these updates nonetheless. Courtesy of Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld, here are a few notes on recent signings:

  • Fab Melo actually signed a two-year contract with the Mavericks, albeit one that's entirely non-guaranteed, says Pincus (via Sulia). Dallas still has 15 players on fully guaranteed deals, so it'll be an uphill battle for Melo to earn a spot on the roster, but if he does, the Mavs will have him under team control for two seasons at the minimum salary.
  • After I devoted a post yesterday to explaining how and why the Sixers have stayed above the cap and could continue to do so this offseason, Pincus renders my points moot (via Sulia), writing that the team has dipped below the threshold and started using cap room.
  • It's interesting that the Sixers would choose this point to claim its cap space — unless the team was caught off guard by Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins signing with the Hawks and coming off Philadelphia's books, it seems the Sixers could've stayed above the cap line, since they recently finalized their deals with Rodney Williams and Darius Morris. Of course, I'm not privy to what's going on behind the scenes in Philadelphia, so perhaps it wasn't possible or the club felt it was no longer worthwhile.
  • In any case, getting back to Pincus' notes: He passes along the specifics on Williams' and Morris' deals with the Sixers, noting that both players signed four-year pacts. For Williams, it's a minimum-salary contract with a $35K guarantee in year one. Years two and three are fully non-guaranteed, while year four is a team option.
  • Morris' deal is worth slightly more than the minimum, and will pay him exactly $4.2MM if he plays out his full contract without being released. The first season is guaranteed for $200K, and the remainder is structured in the same way as Williams' — two non-guaranteed seasons plus a fourth-year team option.

Western Notes: Hunter, Rockets, Melo, Ellis

Let's round up a few Friday afternoon items from around the Western Conference….

  • Ex-Suns coach Lindsey Hunter is in the process of finalizing a deal that will land him on the Warriors' coaching staff, reports Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (via Twitter). Hunter was considered by the Suns and Pistons for head coaching openings this summer, but both teams went in other directions.
  • The Rockets are engaged in discussions with Villanova assistant Billy Lange about making him the head coach of their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As Wojnarowski notes, the Vipers' last two coaches, Nick Nurse and Chris Finch, have since been hired as NBA assistants.
  • Fab Melo's contract with the Mavericks is fully non-guaranteed, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com (via Twitter). Regardless of whether or not he earns a spot on Dallas' regular-season roster, Melo will still be paid by the Grizzlies under his previous contract.
  • Although many observers believe adding a high-volume shooter like Monta Ellis won't improve the Mavericks, Lang Greene of HoopsWorld plays devil's advocate, arguing that perhaps Ellis is exactly the sort of scorer the team needs.