With Markelle Fultz Shut Down Yet Again, the 76ers Are Running Out of Options


So apparently we have arrived at the veiled threat portion of the ongoing saga that is Markelle Fultz, with The Athletic reporting Wednesday that Fultz—who on Monday knowledgeable the Sixers, by way of his agent/lawyer, that he would be shutting it down until finally he saw an independent medical professional about his sore shoulder—would like a new get started with a new staff.

Oh, and his wrist hurts, as well.

What a catastrophe.

Fultz is 20, less than two decades into his NBA job, and he currently warrants a 30 for thirty (Or an SI Movies simply because, you know, dwelling team). In March 2017, he was extensively thought of the consensus No. 1 total choose. In June, the Celtics—who noticed some thing in Fultz’s training that terrified them—tricked, er, traded Philadelphia the leading decide for No. 3 and a future No. one. In September, Sixers brass was mortified by the unilateral modifications Fultz manufactured with his capturing form and by October, Fultz began battling shoulder challenges that limited him to 14 online games past time.

That Fultz reportedly would like to reboot his profession elsewhere—though it need to be observed that Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, advised ESPN that Fultz experienced not asked for a trade—isn’t surprising.

MCCANN: Fultz’s Hottest Shoulder Saga Could Implicate the Legislation

Elsewhere, Fultz isn’t the No. one choose.

Somewhere else, Fultz is not rebuilding his self esteem on a meeting contender.

In other places, Fultz could obtain a better in shape than on a team that has minor have to have for a ball-dominant playmaker.

The challenge? Philadelphia can’t send him somewhere else.

Want a blunt evaluation of Fultz’s trade benefit? One rival government advised the Sixers make a phone to Phoenix, to see if a Fultz-Trevor Ariza swap could be on the desk. Ariza is a versatile, defensive-minded forward who could assist Philly’s playoff force. And Phoenix could just take a flyer on Fultz, hoping to rebuild him in a minimal-stress setting.

That’s suitable: The value of final year’s No. 1 choose is a faded, 33-calendar year-old ahead on a 1-12 months deal.


The Sixers have confined alternatives listed here. When Fultz returns—and the Sixers appeared blindsided by his agent’s final decision to yank him out of the rotation—they don’t have many places to place him. He’s a lousy match in a Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons/Jimmy Butler lineup, and he has competitors for backup minutes in the much more restricted but extra trustworthy T.J. McConnell. 

Can Fultz’s assurance truly be rebuilt on a group in which his minutes are uncertain?

Possibly not.

Know where by it can? The G League.

For each the NBA’s collectively bargained regulations, groups have the proper to assign players with a lot less than 3 several years of service to its minor league affiliate. Demoting Fultz for an extended stint would be unparalleled, but Philadelphia is operating out of alternatives. Fultz’s deficiency of self confidence in his jumper—he’s taking pictures just 28.six% from three—makes him pretty much unplayable in the fourth quarter, significantly with Butler in the fold.

A few of months in Delaware might be the greatest matter for him.

Are there pitfalls? Sure. If Fultz stinks it up with the Blue Coats, his self esteem could crater and his trade worth would absolutely bottom out. But Delaware would allow for Fultz to play 35 minutes a activity in a stress-free of charge ecosystem. In Delaware, Fultz would engage in for Connor Johnson, a former Philly assistant and Elton Brand’s hand-picked coach of the Blue Coats, who will engage in Fultz in a Sixers-centric process.

MANNIX: Can the Wizards Be Set?

Could Fultz resist? Probably. It is a fall kick in the moi to be sent to the G League. But Fultz doesn’t have a great deal leverage. He’s underneath the Sixers’ control for the upcoming two seasons, 3 if you count the $16 million qualifying offer Philadelphia can lengthen Fultz in 2021. He could refuse the assignment, but the Sixers could then suspend him, choking off his $eight.three million salary this period.

Challenging to see Fultz’s reps recommending that.

It is a Hail Mary, but these are desperate instances. Fultz has develop into a distraction—Simmons refused to solution any concerns about Fultz before Wednesday’s game in opposition to the Pelicans—and a crew hoping to integrate a new alpha in Butler on the fly cannot find the money for that. Whatever is going on with Markelle Fultz, it does not seem to be to be fixable in Philadelphia. To rebuild Fultz’s self confidence, the Sixers might require to sink it even even further.  



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