Fab Melo spent much of his rookie season with the D-League's Maine Red Claws. (Otto Kitsinger/Getty Images)
The Grizzlies announced Friday the release of center Fab Melo, a move that comes a little more than two weeks after Memphis acquired the 2012 first-round pick from Boston in exchange for forward Donte Greene and cash considerations. Yahoo! Sports first reported Melo's release.
Melo, 23, averaged 1.2 points and 0.5 rebounds in only six games for the Celtics last season. The No. 22 pick in the 2012 draft out of Syracuse, Melo spent most of last season with Boston's D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. There, he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.
With a stacked big man rotation that includes Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis, Memphis was in a position to handle Melo like the project that he is or simply cut-and-run from a player who has had his commitment and maturity questioned. The Grizzlies have taken the latter route, perhaps hoping that a rebuilding team will claim Melo off of waivers, thus saving Memphis the cost of his $1.3 million contract for the 2013-14 season. Whether or not such a claim is made, the Grizzlies currently sit below the NBA's $71.7 million luxury tax line.
Financial reasons also explained Boston's decision to part with Melo after roughly 14 months. Trading Melo's salary and subsequently releasing Greene, who is on a non-guaranteed contract for next season, would bring Boston's payroll from $72.5 million to $71.2 million, according to ShamSports.com. Moving below the tax line allows the rebuilding Celtics to be tax recipients rather than payers.
Melo's rookie year highlight was either suffering a concussion by running into his hotel doorway or breaking a chair during his rookie photo shoot.
Of the doorway concussion, then-Celtics coach Doc Rivers famously compared his rookie to quirky longtime Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez.
"What did you have? Manny being Manny? Five years when Fab's playing terrific for us here, we're going to have some Fab being Fab moments," Rivers said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "He just took kind of a head start. . . . Literally."