The Sixers are engaged in one of the most public soap operas in professional sports.
After Markelle Fultz’s agent came out and said his client would be seeing a shoulder specialist and not participate in games and practices, a report surfaced that Fultz “could prefer a change in scenery.”
The feeling may be mutual, according to the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. Fultz “is no longer in the Sixers' long-term plans,” per Pompey.
There is a lot to untangle here. The bottom line appears to be, if you believe the reports, that this is a marriage that is headed for divorce.
So if Fultz wants out and the Sixers are ready to move on, what kind of trade could be worked out?
It’s difficult to say considering Fultz’s value has never been lower and the Sixers don’t appear to have much leverage. Perhaps a team with a struggling young player with a need at guard could look to make an even swap. The Sixers could also look to get a draft pick, but I’m not sure many teams would be willing to part with one given Fultz’s circumstances.
The scenario that seems likely is the Sixers looking for a veteran on an expiring contract that could help them now. With Fultz being a No. 1 overall pick and carrying a decent-sized cap hit, it could work.
If the Knicks are looking to move Courtney Lee, a straight-up swap would work. Lee would provide the Sixers a solid wing off the bench and the Knicks would acquire a lottery ticket in Fultz. The Knicks have a couple of young guards but nobody they’re married to long term.
There are other solutions such as the Suns’ Trevor Ariza, but since he just signed with Phoenix this offseason, he can’t be moved until Dec. 15. Ariza’s $15-million cap hit could also require the Sixers getting another team involved to dump salary.
Perhaps former Sixer Kyle Korver could be on the team’s radar. The concern would be Fultz’s fit with the Cavs, who just drafted point guard Collin Sexton. The rookie played very well against the Sixers Friday night. The same issue would arise in a possible swap for another former Sixer in Dewayne Dedmon. With Trae Young in the fold, it’s difficult to see Fultz’s fit.
Fultz’s health could be the biggest issue here. If it’s determined that he has an issue after seeing a specialist Monday, it could make all this trade talk moot.
Whatever happens, the situation appears to be coming to a head.
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