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Sixers trade No. 23 pick and Danny Green for Grizzlies’ De’Anthony Melton at NBA draft

The Sixers added Melton to secure another defensive ace. With his recent injuries, Green can no longer play that role.

Grizzlies guard De'Anthony Melton goes up for a layup against of Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins in the first half during Game 1 of a second-round playoff series on May 1.
Grizzlies guard De'Anthony Melton goes up for a layup against of Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins in the first half during Game 1 of a second-round playoff series on May 1.Read moreBrandon Dill

NEW YORK — The 76ers didn’t stay pat and keep the player who was selected with the No. 23 pick during the NBA draft.

The Sixers were expected to try to make at least one roster move Thursday night. And they did just that.

They chose David Roddy out of Colorado State with that 23rd pick in the draft at the Barclays Center. They then shipped Roddy and Danny Green to the Memphis Grizzlies for De’Anthony Melton.

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.

But they were able to get Melton.

He will make $8.25 million next season and has a non-guaranteed $8 million deal in 2023-24 season. His contract will become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before July 3, 2023. He will get $1.5 million guaranteed money if waived on or before that date.

Meanwhile, Green’s $10 million salary was partially guaranteed because of the trade. Roddy will make $2.55 million next season.

This isn’t the first time Morey acquired Melton.

He drafted Melton out of Southern Cal with the 46th overall pick of the 2018 draft. The Rockets then traded Melton along with Ryan Anderson to the Phoenix Suns for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight two months later.

The Suns traded him the Grizzles on July 7, 2019.

The four-year combination guard averaged 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals, and 22.7 minutes in 73 games with 15 starts this season. Melton’s weakness is his shooting. The 24-year-old shot 40.4% from the field. However, he did make 37.4% of his three-pointers.

But the Sixers made the move to elevate their chances to contend for an NBA title next season. They wanted to use a player and their first-round pick to secure a “win-now” type of veteran.

It’s also not surprising that the Sixers included Green in the deal. They need someone who can help right away. And that’s not currently the case with Green, who will miss most, if not all, of next season after he suffered torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee in May.

» READ MORE: NBA Draft: Sixers shouldn’t sign P.J. Tucker, trade Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris | Marcus Hayes

The Sixers were in the market for a proven two-way perimeter player and a backup center. With a roster that lacks physicality, the Sixers want players who bring instant toughness.

They received that in Melton. He’s a solid backup, who is fairly versatile and grind-house tough.

Looking for help

Morey really wanted to add Gordon on draft night via a three-team trade, according to sources.

However, teams wanted to deal with the Sixers exclusively rather than help facilitate a deal to get Gordon from Houston, sources say. The Portland Trail Blazers were willing to make a straight-up deal for Thybulle, according to sources.

Gordon, 33, could be utilized as the Sixers’ fifth starter or a scoring threat off the bench. The shooting guard/small forward averaged 13.4 points for the Rockets this past season. He was the 2017 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The 14-year veteran, who has spent the past six seasons with the Rockets, has career averages of 16.4 points and 2.8 assists in 749 games with 570 starts.

Morey is familiar with Gordon from their time together in Houston. He was the Rockets’ general manager for 13 seasons before being hired as the Sixers’ president of basketball operations in November 2020.

Morey is also trying to pursue former Houston power forward P.J. Tucker in free agency, according to league sources.

All this comes after Morey acquired former Houston star James Harden in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 10.

But the Sixers’ quest to acquire Gordon on Thursday night come months after they refused to include Thybulle in the package that eventually brought Harden to Philadelphia.

The third-year shooting guard is a two-time All-Defensive second-team selection. He became the first bench player to make an all-defensive team in consecutive seasons since Nate McMillan in 1994 and 1995.

However, he has not progressed offensively at the pace the Sixers would like. In the playoffs, Thybulle was left wide open for shots numerous times while his defender roamed around or helped double-team another player. He also missed three road games in the Sixers’ first-round series win against the Toronto Raptors because he is unvaccinated.

But some may wonder if the Sixers are giving up on him too soon.

Thybulle has been working out with the Sixers’ skills development coaches heading into the summer. And Morey is said to be a fan of Thybulle’, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal. But sources have said that Morey is intent on reuniting with Gordon.

» READ MORE: Sources: Sixers pursuing P.J. Tucker

In one of the first moves under Morey’s watch, the Sixers acquired Green, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirier on Dec. 8, 2020 from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford, a protected 2025 first-round pick, Theo Maledon (the 34th pick in the draft), and the rights to Vasilije Micic.

Green quickly became one of the Sixers’ veteran leaders and the glue guy. He averaged 9.1 points and shot 39.6% on three-pointers during his two seasons in Philly. The 35-year-old was also solid for the Sixers during this year’s postseason.

However, his injuries made him expendable, and Melton adds an element Green could no longer provide.