NBA Rumors: Sixers GM Elton Brand Hints At Plan On Markelle Fultz After Jimmy Butler Trade

Mitchell LeffGetty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season, hoping that Markelle Fultz could live up to expectations of a number 1 overall pick. Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown gave Fultz a huge trust by putting him in the starting lineup instead of veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick. Unfortunately, the 20-year-old guard failed to immediately make a huge impact for the Sixers and is yet to find his rhythm in the perimeter.

In 15 games he played this season, Markelle Fultz is only averaging 9.0 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals on 41.2 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Recently, the Sixers decided to engage in a blockbuster trade deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. Some people believe that the move was an indication that the Sixers have already lost faith in Fultz.

However, Sixers General Manager Elton Brand made it clear that their decision to trade for Jimmy Butler doesn’t have anything to do with Markelle Fultz’ struggle or future with the team. Brand explained that they made the deal with the belief that Butler could strengthen their chance of fully dominating the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference this season.

“Not at all. It wasn’t a changed view of Markelle’s future. It was more of a changed view of being able to get a superstar right now and seeing where other teams were,” Brand said Tuesday, via Ian Begley of ESPN. “There are some really talented teams [in the Eastern Conference]… It was just a chance to have our team take another leap.”

With just a few games, the Sixers already realized that they need an improvement on their roster, especially after they suffered a massive defeat in the hands of their Eastern Conference rivals Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler is expected to improve the Sixers’ performance on both ends of the floor.

With the arrival of Jimmy Butler in Philadelphia, Sixers General Manager Elton Brand revealed that there will be a huge change on their roster.

“When you bring in a four-time All-Star like Jimmy Butler, there’s going to be ripple effects on the entire roster,” Brand said.

Brand may have not said it directly, but Begley believes that the Sixers will consider removing Markelle Fultz from the starting lineup to make room for Jimmy Butler. Butler is set to make his debut as a Sixer on Wednesday night when they face the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.