The Markelle Fultz era is officially over.
The former 76ers No. 1 draft pick was shipped to the Orlando Magic in exchange for guard Jonathon Simmons, a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 protected first-round pick. The 20-year-old lasted fewer than two years in Philadelphia.
And overwhelmingly, Sixers fans on social media were a little bit sad.
Sure, Fultz was plagued with injuries and maybe didn’t get as much time to develop as players like Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.
He missed 103 games since being drafted, and hadn’t played for the Sixers since Nov. 19 due to a diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome.
Fultz, for his part, was probably happy to get out of Philadelphia without being put in a position to prove he’d recovered from his injury.
But he did show a lot of potential in his one year at the University of Washington, and it’s clear he has talent -- maybe that talent will be better realized in another city.
On the other hand, Sixers fans were very impressed with Elton Brand and the way the first-year general manager deftly handled the NBA trade deadline and came away with Tobias Harris, James Ennis and Boban Marjanovic while also spinning away Fultz’s contract.
Fultz wasn’t the only one to make news on Thursday. The Phillies traded away their top pitching prospect, Sixto Sanchez, for the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto, largely considered the best catcher in baseball.
While two young stars have left Philly, it seems like the future is brighter than ever. The Realmuto trade, according to the Inquirer’s Scott Lauber, shows the Phillies expect to make the MLB playoffs and compete for a World Series.
The Sixers’ previous moves -- adding Tobias Harris from the Clippers, most impressively -- could force a seismic shift in the dynamics of the NBA, and almost certainly set the Sixers up to make some noise come playoff time (even if it takes until next year).
Plus, you never know what could happen ...