It seems De’Anthony Melton and Memphis were made for each other. Fortunately, that connection will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
After a much busier draft night than expected, the Grizzlies displayed patience while many around the rest of the NBA experienced a busy opening night of free agency. While not much was expected from the Grizzlies overall, the one significant decision that awaited was what would come from Melton’s restricted free agent status. Though it seemed Melton could earn interest from a few other teams, the Grizzlies quickly put the speculation to rest as they resigned Melton to a four year, $35M contract per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium
All along, after the Grizzlies were eliminated from playoff contention in Orlando, it seemed that the most likely outcome was for Melton to return to the Grizzlies if the price was right. Though a few other destinations made sense, and the Grizzlies added a significant piece to their backcourt unit in Desmond Bane in the draft, Melton seemed to be a high priority for the Grizzlies and their roster.
De’Anthony Melton, the 46th pick in the 2018 NBA draft, now has the highest net salary from his class for the 2020-21 season ($9.6M). https://t.co/W2EPs9kSJF— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
The average annual value the Grizzlies are committing to Melton seems to be close to the neighborhood most expected he could earn. For comparison, his contract is similar to the contracts the Grizzlies have handed out to Kyle Anderson (four years, $37.5M), Tyus Jones (three years, $28M) and Dillon Brooks (three years, $35M). His development last year was nothing short of significant, as he emerged as one of the better perimeter playmakers on defense and rebounding guards in the league. He also proved to be very good in transition and is frequently found among the Grizzlies most productive lineups. Though his offensive game is certainly a work in progress, he has shown encouraging flashes of improved play as a scorer and shooter and still offers plenty of potential at the age of 22.
As Zach Kleiman mentioned at the Grizzlies end of the year press conference, Melton was considered an important part of the young but promising culture the Grizzlies are continuing to build on and off the court in Memphis. With the commitments that the franchise has made to many of its current talents to keep them in Memphis for years to come, it will be interesting to see how the roster continues to evolve. With how well Melton’s skill set compliments the Grizzlies young trio of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke, the Grizzlies and their fans should be thrilled to see their franchise commit to him as a significant contributor for the present and future.