Fresh off its first Final Four appearance of the century, AX Armani Exchange Milan has brought back a former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague All-Decade nominee in forward Nicolo Melli, who signed a three-year deal with the Italian powerhouse on Friday.
Melli (2.05 meters, 30 years old) arrives from Dallas of the NBA, where he averaged 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 26 games last season. He started the 2020-21 campaign with another NBA team, New Orleans, averaging 2.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20 games. Melli returns to Milan, where he already played four seasons, from 2010 to 2015, helping the club reach the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs and win the Italian League title, both in 2014. Melli went to win back-to-back German League titles and lift a German Cup trophy in two seasons at Brose Bamberg. While there, he was chosen to the 2016-17 All-EuroLeague Second Team and earned MVP of the Month honors twice – in November 2015 and December 2016.
Next, Melli played two seasons for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, reaching consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours and making it to the 2018 championship game. In that season finale, he broke the Final Four-era championship-game scoring record with 28 points in a losing effort, although Shane Larkin of Anadolu Efes Istanbul went on to score 29 in the same game a year later. Melli helped Fenerbahce win the Turkish League title in 2018 and return to the Final Four in 2019, where they fell in the semifinals to Efes. In 207 career EuroLeague games with Milan, Bamberg and Fenerbahce, Melli has amassed 1,531 points (7.4 ppg.) and 972 rebounds (4.7 rpg.).
Melli started his career with Reggio Emilia and Scavolini Pesaro in his native Italy. He is a regular member of the country's national team and helped Italy win a silver medal at the 2011 U18 European Championships.