For the past few weeks, Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been the subject of myriad trade rumors, as the team is reportedly looking to trade the former first overall draft pick as he prepares to visit a shoulder specialist to deal with a nagging injury. While Fultz’s camp recently denied that the struggling second-year player is looking to leave the 76ers, a new report suggests that one team, in particular, has been in contact with Philadelphia regarding a possible trade.
Citing league sources, Amico Hoops founder Sam Amico wrote on Sunday that the Cleveland Cavaliers spoke to the 76ers regarding Fultz’s availability, but did not provide any further details on what the two teams talked about or which players or future draft picks could be included in a potential trade package. Amico specified one specific Cavaliers player — veteran small forward Kyle Korver — whom the Sixers have reportedly shown interest in, and noted that a “straight-up” trade between Fultz and Korver could work due to their similar salaries. He added, however, that there hasn’t been any word as to whether this potential deal was discussed by both teams.
Aside from Korver, USA Today’s Sixers Wire mentioned J.R. Smith as another player who could be sent to the 76ers in exchange for Markelle Fultz. Earlier this month, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that Smith will “no longer be with [the] team” as both sides work together to find a new team for the 33-year-old shooting guard.
With a 14-8 record, the Philadelphia 76ers are currently third in the Eastern Conference, where they only trail the Toronto Raptors (17-4) and Milwaukee Bucks (14-5). As noted by Amico Hoops, the team appears to be in “win-now” mode, with young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way and new acquisition Jimmy Butler playing well for the team since coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler, who is averaging 20.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and three assists in seven games with the 76ers, was sent to Philadelphia earlier this month in exchange for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
At the moment, Markelle Fultz hasn’t contributed much to the 76ers’ winning ways, as he is averaging only 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, with his shooting at 42 percent from the field and 57 percent from the free throw line. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey wrote that per multiple sources, the Sixers are considering trading Fultz, but might only receive a late first-round pick from teams “desperate” enough to gamble on the 21-year-old guard. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski took to Twitter on Tuesday, quoting Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, who denied the trade rumors surrounding his client and said he never spoke to Sixers management regarding any trade requests.