As the 2018-19 NBA season goes deeper, drama started to build around Markelle Fultz and the Philadelphia 76ers. After struggling earlier this season, the Athletic reported that the former No. 1 overall pick is dealing with numerous injuries and planning to meet with a specialist in New York next week. The report also noted that Fultz prefers a fresh start on a new team.
On Twitter, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN posted a statement from Markelle Fultz’s agent and lawyer, Raymond Brothers, denying that they are demanding a trade from the Sixers. However, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers no longer consider Fultz as part of their long-term plans and may try to move him before the February NBA trade deadline. Unfortunately, with his poor performance this season, the Sixers might only able to get a late first-round pick in exchange for the 20-year-old point guard.
“If the 76ers have tired of this saga and are considering trading Fultz, and multiple sources said they are, his trade value must have declined a great deal since the start of the season. The team might be able to get a late first-round pick for Fultz from a desperate club willing to take a chance, or the Sixers could try for a player with an expiring contract. That would enable them to avoid paying the $9.7 million that Fultz is guaranteed for next season.”
As of now, it will be best for Markelle Fultz to be traded on a rebuilding team who can give him more time to recover from his injuries and a spot in the starting lineup when he returns. One of the NBA teams who could express a strong interest in adding Fultz to their roster is the Phoenix Suns. Since losing Brandon Knight in a deal with the Houston Rockets, the Suns have been aggressive on the trade market, searching for a starting caliber point guard.
Fultz will undeniably be a great addition to the Suns since he fits the timeline of the face of the franchise, Devin Booker. However, it remains a big question whether the Suns are willing to give up a first-round pick, knowing that Fultz is still recovering from injury and has struggled earlier this season. If they won’t receive interesting offers for their young point guard, Pompey suggested that the Sixers could trade Fultz for an expiring contract.
This will enable the Sixers to create more salary cap space for the summer of 2019. Aside from re-signing Jimmy Butler to a long-term contract, the Sixers could also chase for another big name in the 2019 NBA free agency.