NBA Rumors: Markelle Fultz Trade Being Explored by 76ers Ahead of Trade Deadline

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 1, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against Isaiah Canaan #0 and Devin Booker #1 of 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

The Philadelphia 76ers are gauging league interest in second-year guard Markelle Fultz as the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline approaches, according to Jon Johnson of SportsRadio 94WIP and KYW Newsradio.

Philadelphia drafted Fultz first overall in 2017, but the former University of Washington star has played just 33 regular-season games in a 76ers uniform.

Shoulder injuries have prevented the promising guard from seeing the court regularly. The Sixers announced in December that Fultz has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome.

The 20-year-old has shown some promise in his limited time on the court. He notably dropped a triple-double in 25 minutes during the 76ers' regular-season finale last year and also had 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers this season.

But the 76ers may not have much room for him in their rotation. They added swingman Jimmy Butler to the team in November, and rookie guard Landry Shamet has been impressive off the bench thanks to his 41.0 percent shooting stroke from three-point range.

Shooting guard JJ Redick and point guard T.J. McConnell also have a firm hold on rotation spots, so there aren't many minutes left for Fultz.

The 76ers are also on a roll with 11 wins in their past 15 games, highlighted by a statement victory at the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The 76ers' reported desire to deal Fultz makes sense, although another team could be getting a bargain. Fultz was a highly touted collegiate prospect who scored 23.2 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting. He also hit 41.3 percent of his threes, dished 5.9 assists and grabbed 5.7 rebounds.

Fultz needs to solve the shooting woes that have plagued him in the NBA (41.4 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from three, 53.4 percent from the free-throw line). If he does that, recovers fully and gets a fresh start, Fultz can remind everyone why he was drafted first overall.

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