Markelle Fultz and the Philadelphia 76ers could be headed into an inevitable divorce after rumors circulated that the former No. 1 overall pick is no longer considered part of “The Process.” Fultz has been a huge disappointment since the 2018-19 NBA season started, and as of now, he remains on the sideline, dealing with shoulder and wrist injuries.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report recently created multiple trade scenarios involving players who are expected to be moved before the February NBA trade deadline. To get rid of Markelle Fultz, Favale suggested that the Sixers could engage in a four-team blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, and the Phoenix Suns.
In the proposed trade deal, the Sixers will receive Trevor Ariza, Grayson Allen, Damyean Dotson, and Emmanuel Mudiay, the Knicks get Troy Daniels, Markelle Fultz, Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Muscala, and a 2019 second-round pick, the Jazz will acquire Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Patton, while Ricky Rubio will be joining the Suns. The four NBA teams will be needing to wait until December 15 to make the deal since some of the players involved just signed a new contract in the recent free agency. However, if the deal becomes a reality, it will definitely help the Sixers, Suns, Jazz, and the Knicks address the issues on their roster.
The Suns, who have been active on the trade market, searching for a starting caliber point guard, will finally be having a new floor general in Ricky Rubio. Being a pass-first point guard, Rubio will undeniably be the perfect backcourt partner for the face of the franchise, Devin Booker.
Meanwhile, as Favale noted, the Jazz will be adding a “from-scratch scorer,” Tim Hardaway Jr., who could play alongside Donovan Mitchell. This season, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 22.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on 39.8 percent shooting from the field and 36.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The acquisition of Hardaway Jr. will affect the Jazz’s salary cap flexibility, but they should accept the reality that Utah will not be an attractive destination for superstars when free agency hits next July.
The deal will enable the Sixers to add veterans who could boost their chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference this season. Trevor Ariza could join Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, and J.J. Redick in the starting lineup while Emmanuel Mudiay could be tasked to lead the Sixers’ second unit.
The suggested trade will be a huge gamble for the Knicks, especially if Markelle Fultz won’t start playing like a No. 1 overall pick. However, Favale believes that the deal will put the Knicks in a strong position to become major players in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“New York would take the biggest risk of any team. Fultz’s redemption story isn’t a given. If he doesn’t pan out, the Knicks would have dealt Dotson, Mudiay and Tim Hardaway Jr. at their market peaks for extra cap space. And, hey: That’s fine. Replacing Hardaway with Fultz would set up New York for more than $40 million in room after it renounced all incumbent free agents and waived Lance Thompson ($1 million guaranteed). That number would balloon past $50 million if Courtney Lee plays his way into trade rumors upon his return from a neck injury.”
The Knicks are currently focused on developing their young players, but when the season is over, they are expected to chase superstars that they could pair with Kristaps Porzingis. Using the salary cap space that they could create, the Knicks will have the opportunity to acquire the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, and Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2019.