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Dallas Mavericks: Nicolo Melli struggles as Italy tops Puerto Rico

Dallas Mavericks Nicolo Melli (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC / AFP) (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Nicolo Melli (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC / AFP) (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Dallas Mavericks acquired Nicolo Melli at the trade deadline. They sent James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu, and a second round pick to New Orleans for Melli and J.J. Redick. The deal did not work out as Dallas hoped as Redick suffered a season-ending injury and Melli barely played in the playoffs, but both brought a veteran presence.

The Mavs can make Melli a restricted free agent this offseason. They would have to offer him a $4.87 million qualifying offer. Melli figures to have suitors across the globe, and he faces an important decision this summer.

First, the 30-year-old is representing his country in the Olympic Qualifying tournament. Italy is part of five teams taking part in the Serbia event. They had their first and only pool game on July 1. Here is a closer look at Melli’s performance and where Italy goes from here.

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Dallas Mavericks forward Nicolo Melli struggles as Italy tops Puerto Rico

Melli drew the start but could not get his shot to fall on Thursday. He missed all six of his field goals in the opener. The 30-year-old forward impact the game in other areas. He had three rebounds, three assists, and one block in 22.1 minutes. Italy outscored Puerto Rico by two in his time on the floor.

It was a disappointing performance from Melli, but Italy grabbed the 89-81 win. Warriors guard Nico Mannion, Simone Fontecchio, and Achille Polonara all had 21 points to lift them over Puerto Rico. Mavericks legend J.J. Barea is not playing for his country in the event. Expect a bounce back game from Melli on Saturday.

The win allowed Italy to win Group B. Senegal was forced to pull out prior to the tournament, so both teams in today’s game advanced to the semifinals. Italy faces the second-place team from Group A. They need to win two straight games this weekend to advance to the Olympics. Stay tuned for all the latest on Nicolo Melli and the Dallas Mavericks offseason.

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