Markelle Fultz Trade Rumors: Cavaliers Had Interest Before Kyle Korver Deal

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 23: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the game from the bench against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 23, 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

If the Philadelphia 76ers are shopping Markelle Fultz, at least one team appears to be out of the bidding. 

According to Keith Pompey of Philly.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers "were interested in taking a chance on the 2017 first overall pick before trading Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday."

Ostensibly, the Cavaliers would have included Korver in a deal for Fultz. Instead, they traded him to the Jazz for Alec Burks and 2020 and 2021 second-round picks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.

As for other suitors, Pompey reported that "potential 76ers trade partners don't want Fultz saying that his right shoulder and wrist are bothering him if he actually has a mental block that's hindering his shooting, the source said."

Fultz, 20, is seeing a specialist in New York this week for wrist and shoulder ailments, the latest in an ongoing saga. The former Washington guard was drafted No. 1 overall after the Sixers traded up in the draft to get him, as his length for a guard, athleticism, ability to run the pick-and-roll and excellent outside shooting and three-level scoring in college made him appear to be a nice fit alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

But Fultz came into training camp last year with a dramatically altered shot that included an awkward hitch. Fultz and his camp attributed the change to an injured shoulder, and Fultz ultimately played in just 14 games last season, though others have suggested the issues may have been mental, often referred to as the yips. 

Fultz worked with trainer Drew Hanlen during the offseason to improve his mechanics, and early in the season his form looked improved. But it gradually regressed to the point the hitch in his free-throwing shooting resurfaced at times. 

Last week, Fultz's agent revealed that the player wouldn't be suiting up for the Sixers until seeing a specialist in New York this week. 

The situation has left Fultz's future in Philadelphia in doubt. In Simmons, Embiid and Jimmy Butler, the Sixers have their big three and could have cap space to further improve the team over the summer. Fultz, meanwhile, is set to make $9.7 million next year, which is a large chunk of change for a bench player who doesn't particularly fit with the team if his perimeter shooting doesn't return. 

That's cap space the Sixers could use elsewhere, making a Fultz trade this season feasible. 

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the Sixers getting back anywhere near the value they lost when they traded the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft and a future first-round pick to the Boston Celtics to move up to No. 1. And given Fultz's potential, the Sixers may be hesitant to give up on him just yet.

It's a conundrum for the team, and one that will remain a major storyline until it is resolved.