Markelle Fultz Trade Rumors: Hawks, Magic Talking with 76ers Before Deadline

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Markelle Fultz in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 113-92. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz hasn't played since November, but teams around the NBA remain interested in him heading into Thursday's trade deadline.

On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic have asked about the 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick, via Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

"There's a real possibility he's played his last game with the Sixers," Wojnarowski said.

The 20-year-old has been out with a shoulder injury and has played only 33 regular-season games in his career. He also has yet to be be cleared for basketball activity, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic. 

Fultz doesn't do much to help Philadelphia, which is clearly in win-now mode after acquiring Tobias Harris and others in a six-player trade Wednesday. With a starting lineup that already includes Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, the Sixers have enough talent to contend for a championship this season.

Meanwhile, head coach Brett Brown hasn't confirmed that Fultz would be part of the postseason rotation even if he does return, per Neubeck.

The 76ers could benefit more from bringing in players who would bolster the rotation for the stretch run.

On the other hand, Fultz still has plenty of upside if he can get over his shoulder issues. It makes sense for a lottery-bound team to try to buy low on him.

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Orlando has some quality pieces on its roster, but most of its young core of recent draft picks—namely Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba—play in the frontcourt. Fultz potentially could be the point guard of the future which the team hoped it had in Elfrid Payton.

Atlanta seemingly filled its backcourt last offseason with Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, but Fultz was more of a highly touted prospect than either thanks to his ability to contribute in a variety of ways. If he reaches his potential, the Hawks would add another quality piece to an emerging rotation.

The question is whether either team can offer enough to make the 76ers give up on Fultz.