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Report: Markelle Fultz no longer in 76ers’ long-term plans

Chicago Bulls v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 18: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center on October 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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Philadelphia management is going to deny this report. Their public statements already do.

However, logic and actions suggest this is true: Markelle Fultz is no longer in the long-term plans of the 76ers. They have their “big three” and Jimmy Butler is the guy who completes the trio.

From the well-connected Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

For now, however, Fultz is still around the team as if nothing has changed except his playing time. The Sixers keep saying they will do whatever is best for Fultz, but the situation has overshadowed the success the team has had this season.

Some sources have said that, despite the team’s statements, Fultz is no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans. And they are no longer using his shoulder as an excuse for his performances.

This doesn’t feel like a surprise anymore.

Fultz will see a medical specialist about his shoulder, or now wrist, or whatever ails him. It’s not just the Sixers who are skeptical of the injury excuse, which is one of the reasons Fultz’s trade value is low.

While Fultz’s agent said there has been no formal request to trade him, that seems the move that would be best for everyone. Fultz needs a fresh start somewhere else, a team with a strong development program and can let him learn from his mistakes (that’s not the win-now 76ers anymore). The question is, could the Sixers even get a heavily-protected, late first-round pick for him now? Probably not based on people I’ve spoken to around the league. Maybe a team is willing to give him a shot, but it’s more likely going to be for a couple of second round picks plus a veteran contract that another team is ready to move on from. Don’t expect Philly to land someone who can help them much this season, those players will come at a higher price tag than Fultz’s damaged value.

It’s just time for these teams to have a clean break. That likely will not come soon (or even quickly after Dec. 15, when every player who signed a one-year deal this summer could be delt), but it will come.