Nicolo Melli and Milano edging closer to deal

By Antonis Stroggylakis at eurohoops.netAStroggylakis@eurohoops.net

Olimpia Milano is close to bringing forward Nicolo Melli back in EuroLeague. The two sides had been having long conversations for quite some time and, as Eurohoops has learned, they are now nearing a deal.

Milano has been making a big effort to acquire Melli and bring him back in the Forum after they parted ways in 2015. Following some recent talks last week, the Italian club was cautiously optimistic that an agreement will be reached and things are moving towards that direction.

In order to make some room for Melli’s expected arrival, Milano had to clear a spot on its roster at the power forward position and the player that was eventually cut was Zach LeDay. The former Hokie had a fine 2020-21 run (10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds in 24:41 minutes in EuroLeague) with the Italian team and it would take nothing less than a truly big new signing for his two-year contract to be terminated. This addition is Melli who is approaching his comeback to Europe following his 2017-2019 stint with Fenerbahce Beko.

Melli, 30, spent the last two years in the NBA, splitting 108 games between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Dallas Mavericks. While he saw a fair amount of minutes (17.4 over 60 games during which he had 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds), he didn’t get much action in the second year in New Orleans, appearing in just 22 matches for 11.0 minutes.

He got traded to Dallas in March and played 26 more games, including three in the playoffs.

After 2015 when left Milano to join Brose Bamberg, Melli proceeded to establish himself as one of the most versatile and multidimensional forwards in Europe while being named to the 2017 All-EuroLeague Second Team. In his first EuroLeague Final Four appearance in 2018, he was the leading scorer of the championship game with 28 points in a Fener loss to Luka Doncic’s Real Madrid.

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