Every week this season, we’ll be taking a look at Markelle Fultz and how the 2017 No. 1 overall pick is progressing through his second NBA season.
Fultz has had many weird weeks, but this one was by far the most drama-filled.
In Monday’s win over the Suns, Fultz sat in favor of T.J. McConnell in the second half. At the time, Brett Brown said he was looking for a spark but also didn’t shut the door on McConnell supplanting Fultz going forward.
The next day, Fultz’s agent Raymond Brothers announced that his client would not participate in practices or games and would be seeing a shoulder specialist the following Monday (today).
Elton Brand and Brown were both taken aback by the fact that Fultz had been dealing with shoulder issues. It was also reported that Fultz took part in some light shooting with his teammates that morning.
Then things got really weird. Per a report from The Athletic, Fultz has also been dealing with a wrist injury and “could prefer a change in scenery.” In addition to that, the Inquirer reported Fultz was “no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans.”
So he wants out and the team doesn’t see a future for him here. A trade seems like the most logical solution, but it certainly won’t be easy.
First off, we need to be honest about what Fultz’s trade value is. We outlined trade scenarios last week. The ones that make the most sense involve moving Fultz for a veteran on an expiring deal that can help improve the team’s bench now.
If you’re the Sixers, getting a Trevor Ariza or a Courtney Lee would be a plus. Both could help you achieve your lofty goals this season and both come off the books at the end of it. The team would also no longer be on the hook for Fultz’s recently picked up option for 2019-20 at $9,745,200.
The reality is, this is the best you can hope for if you need to trade him now. The fact that Fultz was once the No. 1 overall pick has no bearing right now. His struggles — whether physical or mental — have to be a red flag to teams. Fultz trying to force his way out of town doesn’t look great either. You can’t expect a team to give up much.
And though the Sixers gave up a lot to take Fultz No. 1 overall, it was Bryan Colangelo’s move. Elton Brand doesn’t have to feel obligated to make Fultz work here. Brand can move Fultz and wash his hands of the whole situation.
Sadly, this could be the last edition of the Markelle Fultz stock watch. Stay tuned.
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