The 76ers apparently got tired of waiting on Markelle Fultz.
That’s why they traded him to the Orlando Magic on Thursday, less than two years after the Sixers traded up two spots to draft him first overall in 2017. In exchange, they received Jonathon Simmons, a 2019 second-round pick, and a 2020, top-20-protected first-rounder
Raymond Brothers, Fultz’s agent, announced on Dec. 4 that Fultz had been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. Brothers said that the condition was the reason for Fultz’s shooting woes and that his client would remain sidelined at least three to six weeks. However, Fultz hasn’t played since Nov. 19.
“You know the goal then, we expected him to be back at some time this season,” general manager Elton Brand said Friday. “That was our hope. Right now, we had a chance to add a player, wing depth. We had to go do it now.”
But his being sidelined because of his shooting woes is nothing new. Fultz actually missed 103 games as a Sixer, dating to last season.
So why now? His trade value was higher last summer. They likely would have been better off trading him at that time.
“Just where we are in the season integrating him in a month or so when we were hoping he’d come back in two or three weeks whenever that was,” Brand said. “To add a piece now, get ready for the playoffs and to get some assets, a first-round pick and a second-round pick, it just felt like the time to do it now.”
However, it appears the team tired of all the drama, and Fultz looks bad, with conflicting statements about his health dominating media reports off the court and his poor production getting full attention on the court.
By moving him, the Sixers will avoid having to pay the $9.7 million that Fultz is guaranteed for next season.