Season in review
Nicolo Melli, shipped to the Dallas Mavericks at the trade deadline in a deal with JJ Redick, wasn’t expected to contribute much. It was understood he was included in the trade just to help match salaries. But there was hope he was being underutilized in New Orleans and the Mavericks could carve out a role for him in the rotation.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Melli averaged four points and just under three rebounds per game in his 23 games with the Mavericks. He only shot 33% from behind the arc on two attempts per game. Ideally, he could have provided a backup to Maxi Kleber, stealing some minutes against immobile bigs on defense while providing spacing on offense. His failure to get his shot going, however, never let that materialize, and when he couldn’t contribute on defense, his minutes evaporated.
Early in his stint with Dallas, Melli offered a glimpse of what he could do for the Mavericks. In an early April game against the Wizards in DC, Melli put up 10 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. He hit his only 3-pointer, and two of those rebounds were on the offensive glass. He showed that he could space the floor, rebound, and move the ball. The Mavericks needed all of that badly at the time. Melli was a big part of the win against the Wizards. But it was a performance he could only replicate a few other times.
Melli is in the final year of a 2-year, $8 million contract he signed with the Pelicans in 2019, making him a free agent this offseason.
With his erratic shot and below average defense, there’s not a spot on this roster for Melli going forward. He’s 30 years old, so he’s unlikely to develop past the player he is now. The Mavericks are in desperate need of shooting and perimeter defenders, so Melli will be low on their list of priorities when it comes time to build the next roster. There’s a possibility he’s brought back on a minimum contract if the Mavericks need to fill out a roster spot, but that’s it.