De'Anthony Melton, Grizzlies Reportedly Agree to 4-Year, $35M Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2020

Memphis Grizzlies' De'Anthony Melton dribbles the ball down court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Ehrmann, Pool)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

Restricted free agent point guard De'Anthony Melton reportedly agreed to a four-year, $35 million contract to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Melton was a second-round pick out of USC in 2018 who spent one season with the Phoenix Suns before getting traded to Memphis last offseason.

In his one season as a member of the Grizzlies, Melton appeared in 60 games and made eight starts, averaging 7.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range.

Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant is the present and future of the point guard position in Memphis, as he averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game during his debut season.

Committing so many years and so much money to Melton suggests the Grizzlies feel comfortable with him backing up Morant and serving as a fill-in starter if need be, however.

It could also be a sign that Memphis intends to move on from backup point guard Tyus Jones, who has two years remaining on his contract and $8 million-plus cap hits in each season.

Another option for the Grizzlies is keeping Jones and utilizing Morant and Melton on the floor together at times. Although that would represent a small backcourt pairing, it would give Memphis a leg up in terms of speed, quickness and ball-handling ability.

The Grizzlies went just 34-39 last season, but they nearly made the playoffs, as they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in the play-in game for the Western Conference's No. 8 seed.

Despite the disappointing end to 2019-20, the Grizzlies have high hopes in 2020-21 and beyond thanks to a core that includes Morant and Melton, as well as forwards Jaren Jackson Jr., Justise Winslow and Dillon Brooks, plus center Jonas Valanciunas.

The Grizzlies have a young, talented roster poised to develop together, and even though he is likely to serve primarily as a bench player, the 22-year-old Melton could be a big part of the team's success.