Sixers Give Up On Markelle Fultz, Trade Former No. 1 Pick

by Leon Thompson February 9, 2019, 0:48
Sixers Give Up On Markelle Fultz, Trade Former No. 1 Pick

The Philadelphia 76ers have finally punted on Markelle Fultz.

Fultz played in the 76ers' first 19 games this season, but he and his camp made a decision to sit out and rehab his shoulder that they claimed was never 100 percent.

The 76ers will receive Jonathon Simmons, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that the picks will be a first-rounder via the Thunder and a second-rounder via the Cavaliers. Physical therapy was recommended for Fultz before returning to play.

Simmons, 29, is a 6-6 bench player, who is averaging just 6.9 points in 20.6 minutes per game for Orlando this season. But, he also dealt with injuries as well as a hitch in his jump shot during his rookie season, which limited him to 14 games.

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The former Washington point guard has shot 41.4 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from 3-point distance and 53.4 percent from the line, confounding a Sixers team that anticipated Fultz being a capable scorer.

Orlando thinks the 20-year-old can still reach his potential despite his early struggles, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told reporters Thursday shortly after the team traded for the guard.

Fultz is owed $9.75 million for the 19-20 season, which will be a problematic figure for the 76ers if they re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.

Orlando is well aware that a comeback situation in the East is highly unlikely, and would rather operate with the promise of a bright future than acquire players in hopes to crack one of the last few seeds in a tight race for the playoffs.

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