De’Anthony Melton looks to shine in his contract year

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Philadelphia 76ers’ De’Anthony Melton (8) dribbles pst Boston Celtics’ Derrick White, right, during the second half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In 2019, at age 21, De’Anthony Melton signed a four-year, $34 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. Now 25 and making a splash for the Sixers, Melton’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2023-24 NBA season. Since being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season, De’Anthony Melton has made a quality impact for the Sixers on the court.

Melton earned the nickname ‘Mr. Do Something’ due to his impressive defensive ability in Memphis. Having averaged 10.1 points per game, shooting 42.5% from the field, and logging 4.1 rebounds per game and 2.6 assists per game for the Sixers last season, he has proven his ability to do just that.

With the Sixers’ starting shooting guard James Harden hardly showing up to practice during the preseason and calling franchise president of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey a liar during a press tour in China last month, it’s likely that Melton will start in his place unless the Sixers can trade Harden away for a player of similar or better caliber.

On his next contract, entering his prime, Melton is expected to make between $14 and $16 million per year. Assuming he continues his success or even improves as he continues to mature into his prime, it’s likely the Sixers will look to retain him in free agency.

In addition to Melton, Tyrese Maxey’s contract is set to expire at the end of 2023-24 unless he signs an extension, and Tobias Harris’ controversially massive five-year contract is expiring at the end of the season as well. If the Sixers choose not to resign Harris, Melton would be a prime target.

Overall, Melton’s career is on an upward trend. If his stats continue to grow in an expanded role and he continues to be a good locker-room presence amidst the absence of James Harden, the Sixers should definitely consider re-signing him. After all, teams that build up over time are often more successful than those who seek out star power, and Melton would be a great piece for a Sixers team trying to get a grasp on their unpredictable future.