Reports: 76ers dealing Markelle Fultz to Magic

Jason Owens

The Philadelphia 76ers are trading Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic, ESPN reports.

The Athletic reports that the 76ers will receive Oklahoma City’s first-round pick, Cleveland’s second-round pick and Jonathon Simmons in return.

Fresh start for Fultz

The trade marks a fresh start for the former No. 1 overall pick who has struggled with his shot since joining the league and sat most of this season with thoracic outlet syndrome, a mysterious nerve disorder that his agent Raymond Brothers has cited as the source of his shooting woes.

The 76ers traded up in the 2017 draft with the rival Boston Celtics to grab Fultz with the first pick, a move that has failed in hindsight as Boston got arguably the best player in the draft with the No. 3 pick in Jayson Tatum.

Officially a failed selection for Philadelphia

The selection of Fultz won’t turn out to be a complete wash for the 76ers, but the return of a first-round pick from a projected playoff team, a second-round pick and Simmons pales in comparison to the haul of the No. 3 overall pick and additional first-round pick they sent the Celtics to select him.

Fultz has played in just 33 NBA games since joining the 76ers in 2017. He played 14 games during his rookie season and 19 this season before shutting down, citing the nerve disorder.

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.

Sixers had already begun to move on

Philadelphia has made significant moves this season, acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to add to its established core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as it seeks to get ahead in an increasingly competitive Eastern Conference.

It became increasingly clear that Fultz was not a part of those plans. Thursday’s move made it official.

Calculated gamble for Magic

For the rebuilding Magic, Fultz is a gamble they apparently believed was worth taking with nothing to play for in the immediate future.

Eleven-year veteran D.J. Augustin is the current starting point guard in Orlando. If Fultz is able to recover some of the form the 76ers anticipated when the drafted him, he would conceivably be the point guard of the future.

It’s a calculated move for Orlando to pick up a player it evidently believes still has the potential to be a difference maker at a relatively low cost.

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