For the sake of Markelle Fultz and the Sixers, the hope has to be their relationship can be mended.
It’s been reported by the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey that teams inquiring about Fultz would like for the second-year guard to acknowledge that his shooting woes are mental and that he is physically healthy. Will he do it? It’s hard to stay.
If this situation has become untenable, which teams could realistically target Fultz? What could the Sixers expect in return?
Here are four somewhat realistic possibilities.
The Suns are probably the trade partner that makes the most sense. In the same article, Pompey mentioned Phoenix as a destination that has some level of interest in Fultz. There are really only two players that could make it work.
Veteran Trevor Ariza would offer a great defensive option that can also provide solid shooting. The 33-year-old’s $15-million cap hit could be an obstacle and might make him more of a buyout option in the coming months. He also can’t be moved until Dec. 15 because he was just signed this summer.
A swap for Josh Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in 2017, would basically be both teams hoping a change of scenery could help these once highly-touted prospects. Perhaps Jackson, regarded as a hard-nosed, two-way player coming out of Kansas, could learn a thing or two from Jimmy Butler.
The Magic could certainly use a young guard but the pieces may not line up. Terrence Ross is a solid bench wing on an expiring deal that’s having a career year. He’d provide elite three-point shooting and better defense on the wing than what the Sixers currently have.
I’ve seen Nikola Vucevic mentioned as an option but that seems superfluous. Vucevic might be an All-Star. He should be able to land a starting role for a decent team.
We’ll get this out of the way first: I don’t think the Sixers have enough ammo to get Bradley Beal. They’d have to offer something like Fultz, Wilson Chandler, Zhaire Smith and the Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick … and that’s likely not enough. There are teams around the league that could make a more attractive offer.
Perhaps a trade for a few of the Wizards’ bench pieces makes more sense. Something like Fultz and Amir Johnson for Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jeff Green. If Washington is truly committed to blowing things up, it’s not crazy. Though I do struggle to see Fultz’s fit with a pretty much immovable John Wall.
There’s been nothing linking Fultz to Brooklyn but it could be an intriguing fit. D’Angelo Russell is playing very well. The Lakers gave up on him after two seasons and he’s beginning to flourish.
Perhaps Brooklyn could see a similar situation in Fultz. If Fultz ever reaches his potential, he and Russell could be dangerous. Then again, taking on another ball-dominant guard may not be what the Nets are looking for.
If Brooklyn does have a level of interest, I’d love Spencer Dinwiddie here. He’s a backup point guard that can get his own shot and is shooting a career-high 38 percent from three. You’d likely have to eat a contract like Jared Dudley’s — whom the Sixers would likely try to buyout immediately — to make the deal work.
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