By Jenny Masters
James Harden is expected to pick up his $47.4 million option by the July 1 deadline and sign a two-year contract extension (“it’s a mutual lovefest,” Sixers big boss Daryl Morey said Friday morning), according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
His first move in his third year with the Sixers was to trade the first-round selection and the non-guaranteed $10 million contract of injured wing Danny Green to the Grizzlies in exchange for guard De’Anthony Melton on Thursday.
Melton, a fourth-year pro from Southern Cal who can run the point and play off the ball, averaged 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals and hit .374 of his 3-pointers last season for Memphis while excelling in catch-and-shoot situations. A quality defensive player, the 6-foot-2 Melton is under contract for $8.25 million next year and $8 million in 2023-24 and is expected to come off the bench for a team whose reserves struggled again in the playoffs.
“We’re excited about the possibility of some trades coming,” Morey said.
“If we can get a perimeter defender, maybe for a draft pick, we’d feel really good about that. … We think we got better tonight.”
“Defensively, he plays with so much energy and he believes no one can beat him getting from Point A to Point B,” Embiid said.
“And he’s tough and he’s physical. … Since I’ve been here, I’d be lying if I said we had those type of guys. Nothing against what we have — it’s just the truth. We never have P.J. Tucker. That’s what I’m really trying to say. Once you get to the later rounds of the playoffs, you need those guys that are really tough.”
PJ Tucker would cost $32 million over three years (starting at $10.3 million with annual 4.5 percent raises) if it gets below the luxury-tax threshold.