Why The Mavs Are Interested In Fab Melo
Fab Melo of Syracuse was The Big East Defensive Player of the Year, a 7-0, 255-pound sophomore who was a pivotal player on a seemingly dominant team … until academic problems earned him a suspension, causing him to miss the Orangemen's short stay in the NCAA Tournament.
"It was academic," Melo said in the summer of 2012 after working out for the Pacers in Indianapolis. "They ask, I explain (what) happened - that I came from another country and until four years ago didn't even speak English."
Melo is now 23, a Brazilian who just started playing the game seven years ago. Before that draft -- in which Melo went to Boston at No. 22 -- we cleared up with the Mavs any concerns with the academic issues; their experience with foreign players helped them understand that sort of hurdle.
Now it's time for somebody to try to understand Melo again. Marc Stein is suggesting that Dallas is kicking the tires here, and the reasoning is understandable.
"He was off the charts," a basketball source told the Indy Star of Melo's workout in summer of 2012. His numbers (7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks) never suggested quite that. His pro numbers (1.2 points and 0.5 rebounds in only six games with the Celtics while spending most of his time in the D-League) don't, either.
With Boston's D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks. He fit there. He might fit in Frisco here.
Why is he available?
The Grizzlies acquired him from a Boston team that stripped itself of his salary in order to dip below the tax line. Now it seems Memphis is also interested in ridding itself of his owed $1.3 mil. So he's a street free agent. Dallas not only happens to have people on staff who speak the Brazilian center's language ... the Mavs speak that "street-free-agent'' language as well.
Before that draft, Melo said, "I'm still new to the game."
That hasn't changed much. Nor, apparently, has Dallas' willingness to give him a looksee.
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