The three best landing spots for struggling Sixers’ guard Markelle Fultz

USATSI_11688638_168382939_lowres

The acquisition of Jimmy Butler immediately places the Sixers in “win now” mode, leaving Markelle Fultz the odd man out. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Derek Bodner and Sam Amick reported that Markelle Fultz is struggling with a wrist injury that is contributing to his shooting woes and that he’d be open to a fresh start with another team. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later stated that contrary to the report, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, hasn’t requested a trade for his client.

Even though Markelle Fultz’s trade value has significantly diminished since he was drafted in 2017, he is still a former number one pick. Someone who could use a young point guard who is willing to wait for him to get healthy will surely take a gamble on him. Let’s take a look at some potential trade packages that the 76ers could put together should they decide that Fultz is no longer worth the drama.

 

The Phoenix Suns find their point guard of the future

Phoenix Suns receive: Markelle Fultz, 2019 second round pick

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender

The Suns seem like a perfect trade partner for Markelle Fultz. The primary playmaking duties have been given to Devin Booker and while he’s more than capable of setting up for others, having a primary ball handler and facilitator would take some weight off of his shoulders.

The Suns are currently competing for a top 3 spot in the 2019 NBA Draft and should have no problem waiting a bit for Fultz to get his affairs in order. He’d be an instant upgrade over Isaiah Canaan and Élie Okobo, even without a reliable jumpshot.

Josh Jackson has lost some of his minutes this year in favor of Mikal Bridges, Trevor Ariza and T.J. Warren. He’s not producing the stats that he was last year (13.1 points last year compared to 6.8 this year) but his minutes have dropped from 25.4 to 17.

The Sixers could use a guy like Jackson off their bench. He’d be an athletic wing who could switch and guard different positions in the second unit, which the 76ers could really use. They’d also be taking a flyer on Bender, who has been underwhelming after being picked fourth in the 2016 draft.

 

The Wizards start their rebuild

Washington Wizards receive: Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, Furkan Korkmaz, Jonah Bolden

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre

The Wizards early season struggles have been well documented. Between the star player yelling vulgar language at the coach and heated arguments between teammates, the Wizards are ready to blow it up and are reportedly open to dealing anyone on the roster.

Getting rid of Porter’s contract would be a start. He’ll be earning $26.01 million this season, $27.25 million next season and he has a player option for $28.49 million the following season. Porter isn’t producing quite at the level that he was last year for the Wizards and with the team looking to rebuild, getting rid of Porter’s contract makes sense.

Markelle Fultz would more than likely come off the bench behind Wall, but that’s where Fultz will probably be best. Plus, if they’re able to ship John Wall out of Washington, Fultz could be an instant starter and potential building block for the franchise. Korkmaz and Bolden are players who have each shown flashes of becoming solid rotational players and would be a very welcomed addition for a team looking for a fresh start.

Porter in the meantime would get a fresh start of his own with Philly, who could use another 3 and D guy next to Simmons, Embiid and Butler. Yes, he is overpaid, but his contract isn’t ghastly. If the Sixers feel like they might whiff on guys like Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris in free agency, making a move for Porter might not be a bad idea.

Oubre would bolster the Sixers bench and give them another athletic wing they can throw out there in their uptempo system. Despite only shooting 28.9% from deep so far this season, there’s hope that he could bring it back up to the 34.1% clip that he shot it last year.

The Wizards get a young point guard and other pieces to help them start their rebuild and the Sixers add some wing depth to their team. It could be a great move for both sides.

 

The Sixers and Spurs swap point guards

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Patty Mills, 2020 2nd round pick

San Antonio Spurs receive: Markelle Fultz, TJ McConnell

Dejounte Murray is unfortunately out for the season with a torn ACL. The point guard minutes have been mainly divided between Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes and Derrick White. While Forbes hasn’t been bad, his playmaking ability is somewhat limited and White doesn’t look ready to contribute big minutes anytime soon.

Fultz would be able to give them a dynamic playmaker to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. When Murray returns next season, Fultz could slide into the second unit and lead the charge off the bench. There’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that if anyone can get the best out of Fultz, it would probably be Gregg Popovich.

TJ McConnell would give them more production off the bench of than White can. He’s a pass first point guard who plays with grit and heart every minute he’s on the floor and the Spurs and their fans would love him.

While McConnell is a fan favorite in Philly, he’s not exactly a perfect fit next to Simmons and Embiid. McConnell can make open 3s, but he doesn’t take them often. He’s only attempted 6 this season and less than 70 in each of the past 2 seasons.

Mills, who’s a career 39% 3 point shooter, would be a much better fit. He’d be able to provide shooting off the bench, something that the Sixers really need more of. If San Antonio is feeling risky, a move for Fultz could potentially have a high payoff.

 

 

More from our Sister Sites