Markelle Fultz Trade Rumors: 76ers Considering Move Amid Shoulder Issues

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 25, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz's tenure with the team that drafted him first overall may be coming to an end after a bizarre year-and-a-half to begin his NBA career.

Per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Fultz is no longer in the Sixers' long-term plans." He also noted that "multiple sources" said the team is "considering trading Fultz."

Fultz has played in 19 games this season with 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 22.5 minutes per contest.

On November 20, David Aldridge of The Athletic D.C. reported the following news:

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc

At the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers, @MarkelleF is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist early next week. Per Brothers, Fultz will not participate in team practices or games until after the the specialist has had a chance to evaluate him.

Derek Bodner, Sam Amick and Jared Weiss of The Athletic then reported Fultz saw a specialist last Monday and that "sources with knowledge of Fultz's thinking have also told The Athletic that the player would prefer a fresh start with a new team."

That trio also wrote that Fultz was battling a wrist injury, which has played a part in his ongoing shooting issues, most notably free throws.

A fantastic college scorer, Fultz posted 23.2 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting in one year at the University of Washington. He also added 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.

He was the clear leader to be named the No. 1 overall pick in the lead-in to the 2017 draft, and that ended up being the case when Philadelphia took him first.

However, the injuries and disconnect between Fultz and his camp and the team have gotten his NBA career off to a rocky start. Right now, his talent is obscured by talk regarding his shoulder and latest shooting technique on a regular basis, and that's been the case for the better part of his pro tenure.

It also probably doesn't help Fultz that the 76ers are Eastern Conference contenders, which exacerbates his issues. If he were on a young and developing team further away from competing for a conference or league title, he may be better off as he works to get his career back on track.

Fultz has showcased what he can do at his best, notably notching a 13-point triple-double in just 25 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks to close the 2017-18 regular season. Clearly, the 20-year-old's career can be saved.

But at this point, it's probably best for him and the 76ers to move on.