Acquiring Melton a solid move for the Sixers

by Marc Narducci | Jun 29, 2022
Acquiring Melton a solid move for the Sixers

The 76ers made one move and a positive one at that, on draft night, but others will need to be made before the next NBA season.

With limited resources, the 76ers traded their 2023 first-round pick and Danny Green to the Memphis Grizzlies for De’Anthony Melton.

Green, who was scheduled to make $10 million on a non-guaranteed deal, tore his ACL and MCL in the sixth and final game of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Miami, and while he insists he will be back, next season, there is no guarantee.

Green, a three-time NBA champion, is not the player he used to be, but he did bring some needed veteran leadership in his two seasons with the Sixers.

The 6-foot-2 Melton is a combo guard known for his strong defense. He has been in the NBA for four seasons despite turning 24 in May.

This past season he averaged 10.8 points in 22.7 minutes, both career-highs. Melton shot 40.4 percent from the field, including 37.4 percent from the three-point range.

He didn’t perform as well in the playoffs this past season. In 10 games he averaged 5.6 points in 17.0 minutes. Melton shot 32.3 percent from the field and just 25.0 percent from the three-point range.

According to Hoopshype.com, he will make $8.25 million this coming season and 8.0 million in the final year of his contract in 2023-2024.

 

That is not an outlandish figure if Melton becomes the type of rotation player the Sixers need. During the playoffs, their bench was a major weakness and when Green got hurt in that final game against Miami, the bench was further exposed.

Even with limited salary cap room, expect the president of basketball operations Daryl Morey to attempt to get creative and still acquire depth pieces.

First up is the James Harden situation which will be resolved by this week. Harden has to decide whether to opt into the final year of his contract for $47.1 million.

Even if Harden opts out, which is doubtful, he will likely sign an extension with the Sixers.

One thing is for sure – the Sixers won’t improve if Harden doesn’t take his game up after such a disappointing playoff performance.

While he had his moments such as the 31-point effort in the Sixers' 116-108 win in Game 4 against Miami that tied the series, 2-2, Harden failed to live up to his All-Star reputation for most of the postseason.

While Harden never stated it, there was speculation that he was hampered by a hamstring injury late in the season and the postseason.

Yet he has been bothered by a hamstring the past two years. At 33 when the next season begins, one has to wonder if he can stay healthy and be more effective.

Either way, there will be other moves. The Sixers made a solid transaction on draft night. It doesn’t put them up among the favorites in the Eastern Conference, but there is a long way to go in the offseason, with plenty of time for Morey to bring some much-needed additions.

 

Photo Courtesy: Sixers Twitter

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Author: Marc Narducci

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