Right before they were set to make their pick in the NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers made a minor shakeup to their roster. Daryl Morey executed a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies for guard De’Anthony Melton in exchange for Danny Green and the 23rd overall pick. Melton is a 24-year-old combo-guard who is fresh off posting a career-high 10.8 PPG.
With Green set to miss a majority of the year recovering from an ACL tear, the Sixers were looking to move on from the three-time champion. His playoff experience made him a key piece to the locker room, but the addition of Melton solidifies the backup guard spot in Doc Rivers’ rotation.
Following the conclusion of the draft, Morey held a small media availability to discuss the team’s moves. He started by thanking Green for what he did in his time with the Sixers and then went on to say he feels the roster has improved with the trade.
We think we got better tonight,” said president Daryl Morey. “I do want to start by thanking Danny Green. I really wanted to get him the fourth ring, but I think we haven’t seen the last of Danny. He’s been a warrior for us.
Green’s tenure in Philadelphia ends after two seasons in which he played a total of 131 games. In that time, he averaged 7.8 PPG while shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc.
Sixers Still Targeting Eric Gordon
Leading up to the draft, one player the Sixers were heavily linked to was Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon. Houston is shopping the former Sixth Man of the Year with the asking price of a first-round pick. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Sixers tried to acquire him on draft night and remain in pursuit of working out a deal.
The Sixers also tried to acquire the Rockets’ Eric Gordon on draft night, using Matisse Thybulle as an asset. They even attempted to get a third team to participate, according to multiple league sources. Sources say Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still trying to acquire Gordon despite being unsuccessful on Thursday night.
Similar to Melton, Gordon can help add more firepower to the Sixers’ bench. The 33-year-old averaged 13.4 PPG while shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc in 57 games for the Rockets.
Sixers Putting Focus on Perimeter Defense
Now that the draft has come and gone, organizations are gearing up for the start of free agency. Adding wing players is a must for the Sixers, and Daryl Morey cited that as a point of emphasis heading into the summer.
We’re looking for players who can contribute, and we were the No. 1 defense two years ago. We were good last year. We want to make sure we improve that so if we can get a perimeter defender maybe for a draft pick, we feel very good about that. We think someone like that is someone that can really contribute and be a two-way player. Someone like that would be a really nice addition.
One player who almost perfectly matches this description is P.J. Tucker. Following news that the veteran forward is declining his player option with the Miami Heat, the Sixers quickly emerged as a favorite to acquire his services.