The Markelle Fultz saga in Philadelphia is over.
The 76ers have agreed to trade their embattled point guard to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Jonathon Simmons, a first-round and second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The first-round pick is in 2020 and via the Thunder.
The deal is a fresh start for Fultz
Remember: The 76ers traded the No. 3 pick in 2017 (Jayson Tatum) and an additional first-round pick in 2019 to move up and select Fultz No. 1-overall. At the time, the selection was a no-brainer: Fultz was a dominant scorer and playmaker in college at Washington, with some scouts even comparing his game to James Harden. Putting him with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would have made the three-man tandem ready to take the East by storm.
But then Fultz injured his shoulder and lost the ability to shoot from the foul line and beyond. It wrecked his confidence and destroyed his impact on the court. It also became the biggest controversy surrounding a Philadelphia team whose other players were competing for a championship. His shortcomings led to Philly’s trade for Jimmy Butler, which led to their subsequent trade for Tobias Harris.
A doctor later determined Fultz was suffering from Thoraccic Outlet Syndrome, a condition suffered by many professional baseball players. He has been away from the 76ers since that diagnosis.
Now, Fultz starts a new chapter in Orlando with a team that isn’t competing for the playoffs any time soon. He can take his time in developing and finding the confidence he once had in his perimeter jump shot.
The 76ers receive Simmons, a player who blew up in a season in San Antonio before disappearing in Orlando. He’s a slashing scorer who projects to add some bench depth to Philly’s back court.