76ers Stay or Go: After an Injury-Plagued 2023-24 Season, What Does Future Hold for De’Anthony Melton?

76ers Stay or Go: After an Injury-Plagued 2023-24 Season, What Does Future Hold for De’Anthony Melton? Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard De'Anthony Melton (8) dribbles against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers’ roster is likely to undergo another revamp during this offseason. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are the only two players locked in to be on the roster at the beginning of the 2024-25 season. The Sixers have decisions to make about the future of 13 players from their 2023-24 roster. They are likely to possess roughly $60 million in salary cap space heading into free agency this summer.

In the third installment of the “76ers Stay or Go” series, let’s discuss whether the Sixers should bring back versatile guard De’Anthony Melton.

76ers Stay or Go: Tobias Harris | Buddy Hield

Melton, upon being acquired in a draft-night trade with the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2022, quickly became an integral piece to the Sixers’ roster. He slotted in as one of the team’s top perimeter defenders, finishing fourth in the league in steals per game (1.6) since coming over to Philadelphia. On the other end of the floor, Melton proved to be a capable outside shooter. The two-way guard shot 37.9% from 3-point range on 5.4 attempts per game over the last two seasons. At 26 years old, it should be a no-brainer decision for the Sixers to re-sign Melton this offseason.

However, injuries derailed Melton throughout the 2023-24 season. A back injury limited Melton to just 38 games in the regular season. After missing about six weeks of action, Melton returned to the lineup in late February. He played in three games before again being forced to miss time with the same back injury. The 26-year old managed to return to the lineup late in the season. It was clear the back injury was still limiting him. While Melton was active for the Sixers’ final four postseason games, he played in just seven minutes.

Melton has shown he can be an effective 3-and-D player in the NBA. However, injury concerns cast doubt on the Sixers’ interest in bringing him back. If Philadelphia is successful in adding another star player this offseason, they will have limited remaining cap space to fill out the rest of the roster. Electing to re-sign Melton is a risky move considering his recent injury history. However, keeping him might be worth the risk depending on the size of his next contract.

On that front, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer floated Melton fetching as much as a four-year, $60 million contract. At $15 million per year, that is likely going to be above the Sixers’ price range. Signing Melton to a one or two-year contract in the range of $9-12 million per season would be a more appealing and feasible option.

The Sixers should definitely have a desire to re-sign Melton. He has proven to be a key part of the team’s rotation over the past two seasons. Even with the injury risk, retaining Melton at the right price would be in the Sixers’ best interests. There is always the chance of another team outbidding Philadelphia for Melton’s services. The Sixers are not in a position to afford overpaying for a role player, even one as talented as Melton, with injury concerns. In the end, Melton’s future will likely be decided by how teams around the league weigh his talent against his recent injury history.

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