Sixers Part Ways With Key Veteran in Draft Night Trade

Philadelphia 76ers, De'Anthony Melton

Getty DeAnthony Melton #0 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against Austin Rivers #25 and Jeff Green #32 of the Denver Nuggets.

Leading up to the NBA Draft, rumors emerged that the Philadelphia 76ers were looking to package their first-round pick and Danny Green in exchange for a player who can contribute now. It came down to the eleventh hour, but Daryl Morey was able to execute a trade. ESPN’s Adrain Wojnarowski reported the Sixers acquired De’Anthony Melton from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Danny Green and the 23rd overall pick.

The Sixers acquired Green on draft night 2020 in exchange for Al Horford, and now his tenure comes to an end on that same night two years later. The three-time champion played 131 total games during his time in Philadelphia and averaged 7.8 PPG while shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc.

For the Sixers, they acquire a young guard with high upside. Melton, 24, averaged a career-high 10.8 PPG in 73 games with the Grizzlies this season. He also shot 37.4% from beyond the arc on 5.1 attempts per game. Melton is currently signed through the 2023-24 season at roughly $8 million per year.

Addressing a Key Need

The Sixers had multiple holes to address this offseason, one of them being guard depth. With Melton entering the fray, they now have a reliable combo-guard that can step in behind Tyrese Maxey and James Harden.

With his ability to space the floor, Melton can also be utilized alongside Joel Embiid. The Sixers need more reliable kick-out options for the MVP runner-up, and Morey just added one. While Melton shot 37% percent on all his threes, that number hiked to 40.6% when shooting off the catch.

Parting ways with an experienced veteran like Green is tough, but Melton should be able to come in and provide a much-needed scoring punch to Doc Rivers’ second unit. This is also a great value trade for the Sixers, given that Green will miss most of the year recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the postseason.

Clearing The Way For More Moves?

Daryl Morey has made his first move of the offseason. Now the question is, what will come next? Along with shopping Green, reports also surfaced of the Sixers gauging the market for Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle.

With Green’s contract off the books now, Morey has more cap flexibility to work with. This could help the Sixers pursue free-agent targets like P.J. Tucker. After the 37-year-old declined his player option with the Miami Heat, Philly emerged as the favorite to land the former champion.

Another name the Sixers have been heavily connected to is Houston Rockets’ sixth man Eric Gordon. That being said, with Green gone, it might be tough for Morey to facilitate a trade from a financial perspective.

Whether it’s to pursue Tucker or something else, the Sixers have some money to fill some holes still on the roster. Two names to watch as potential signings are Gary Harris and Jeff Green.

Even though two assets are off the board, it’s unlikely Morey is done re-shuffling the deck. While there’s been little to no market for Harris and Thybulle this far, things could change as we get deeper into the summer. One thing is for sure, Morey will continue his pursuit of building a legitimate title contender around Joel Embiid.

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