NBA Rumors: Sixers Could Have Acquired Future 1st-Round Pick For Backup PG TJ McConnell, Says Wojnarowski

Does keeping T.J. McConnell hints at Markelle Fultz nearing departure from Philadelphia?

T.J. McConnell of the Sixers in their game against the Celtics
Justin Setterfield / Getty Images

Does keeping T.J. McConnell hints at Markelle Fultz nearing departure from Philadelphia?

Before the 2018-19 NBA season, rumors and speculation were circulating that the Philadelphia 76ers were shopping backup point guard T.J. McConnell. The Phoenix Suns, who lost Brandon Knight in a deal with the Houston Rockets, expressed a strong interest in acquiring McConnell, but the Sixers refused to trade him for only a future second-round pick.

As of now, the 76ers have already pulled T.J. McConnell from the trading block. The Sixers have lost veteran point guard Jerryd Bayless after including him in the trade package to acquire superstar Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they are currently on the verge of parting ways with Markelle Fultz.

In an appearance on The Russillo Show, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that the 76ers are no longer planning to move T.J. McConnell. But if they decided to trade him, Wojnarowski believes that the Sixers could have acquired at least a future first-round pick in return.

“Think about this, T.J. McConnell probably could have gotten … in fact, I’m very confident [McConnell] could’ve gotten Philadelphia a first round pick in the last few weeks. You can get a first round pick for T.J. McConnell but [Philadelphia’s] not doing that. They need him now. They need him to play on this team. They need him to continue in that role, and so they’re not listening to offers for him right now. All that goes out the window with some crazy offer, but barring that, the Sixers want to keep him,” Wojnarowski said, as transcribed by Mike Gill of Amico Hoops.

T.J. McConnell may have entered the 2018-19 NBA season as the odd man out in Philadelphia, but after losing Jerryd Bayless in a trade and Markelle Fultz to an injury, the 76ers value his service more than a future first-round pick. While Fultz remains on the sideline, McConnell will be the Sixers’ primary back up for Ben Simmons.

Even if Fultz returns from an injury, it remains unknown if 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown will let him take T.J. McConnell’s role with the team. In line with the reports that he would meet specialists in New York regarding his shoulder injury, rumors and speculation circulated that Fultz wants a fresh start on a new team. Fultz’s camp already denied that they are demanding a trade from the Sixers. However, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that the Sixers no longer consider Markelle Fultz as part of their long-term plans and may consider moving him before the February NBA trade deadline.