The Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic appear to be the latest teams interested in the services of Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz, according to a new report from SBNation blog Liberty Ballers.
Citing league sources, Liberty Ballers wrote on Thursday that the Pistons are considering trading for Fultz due to starting point guard Reggie Jackson’s “inconsistent” play — and backup Ish Smith’s recent injury issues. As for the Magic, the publication noted that the team has struggled all season long at the point guard position, and might find the former first overall draft pick “appealing” because of head coach Steve Clifford’s ability to work with younger players with great potential, especially those with good athleticism and defensive skills.
Talking about players the Pistons or the Magic could give up in order to acquire Fultz, Liberty Ballers mentioned Pistons guards Smith and Langston Galloway — and Magic wingmen Terrence Ross and Jonathon Simmons — as players with contracts similar to that of Fultz, who is earning $8.3 million this season and will be making $9.7 million in 2019-20. The 76ers blog site added that all of the aforementioned players could help Philadelphia go deep in this season’s playoffs — without taking much of a toll on the salary cap, thus allowing the team to chase some of the league’s better free agents next summer.
In a report that focused mainly on the Pistons’ rumored interest in Fultz, NBC Sports Philadelphia posited that sending the 20-year-old guard to Detroit for a package including Ish Smith is the “only deal that makes sense” at the moment, considering his two solid stints with the Sixers before joining the Pistons — and Philadelphia’s needs for other options at point guard. The news outlet also recommended three-point shooting specialist Reggie Bullock, and a second-round pick, as two other components from Detroit that could potentially sweeten the deal for the 76ers.
“Understandably, some fans will not be thrilled with getting two role players in exchange for a No. 1 pick. But we all need to move on from that mind frame. Fultz hasn’t been that player at the NBA level and until he shows it, this is what his value is,” wrote NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Paul Hudrick.
So far, Markelle Fultz has averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, and shot 41.9 percent from the field in 19 games this season. As seen on his Basketball-Reference player page, these numbers are only slightly better than the ones he posted in his rookie season last year, where he was limited to just 14 regular season games due to right shoulder issues. In his lone college season playing for the Washington Huskies, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. He had shooting percentages of 47.6 percent from the field, and 41.3 percent from the three-point line.