The Sixers gave up a valuable asset to move up two spots to draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall.
It was a bold move by Bryan Colangelo and, aside from burner accounts, will be the lasting mark of the former GM.
Elton Brand is the general manager of the Sixers now. He didn’t decide to do business with Danny Ainge, who it appears knew he was selling damaged goods. He didn’t give up an unprotected first-round pick from a perpetually bad (though maybe finally improving) team.
If Brand were to trade Fultz for a bag of basketballs — which has been suggested by much of the fan base — it wouldn’t be an indictment on him. His predecessor is the one forever linked to that deal.
Brand’s legacy is now tied to Jimmy Butler. So far, those returns are impressive. Butler is a pending free agent so signing him this offseason will also be incumbent upon Brand. How that long-term deal works, how Butler continues to progress with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and, of course, the overall success of the team, will be Brand’s legacy.
If he trades Fultz for a 37-year-old Kyle Korver, he won’t be blamed for not getting the appropriate value for a guy that was the first overall pick a year ago. He’ll likely be praised for getting out of an ugly situation and being able to retain a sharpshooter that can help spread the floor for his stars.
If he’s able to acquire a Trevor Ariza from the Suns, it will be looked at as a master stroke at this point. Getting a two-way wing that can improve your struggling bench and possibly help you reach your lofty goals for a disgruntled 20-year-old that lost his backup role to T.J. McConnell? Yeah, that’s a win for Brand.
It’s time to separate ourselves from what Colangelo gave up to acquire Fultz and focus on what Fultz is right now. He’s struggling massively with his shot — whether it’s his shoulder, wrist, thumb or head. He’s essentially forcing himself out of a winning situation with a coach who handed him a starting spot. Not many GMs are going to be lining up to acquire that.
It’s sad that it’s come to this. When we found out on lottery night that the Celtics would be getting the first overall pick, I was upset to think about the fact that Ainge would get Fultz. That after completing the biggest fleece in sports since Jerry Jones got a king’s ransom for Herschel Walker, the Celtics would now get a guy I thought was going to be a star.
He very well could still become one. It just doesn’t appear Philadelphia is the place where that will happen.
And none of that is on Elton Brand.
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