The Magic are taking a shot at recent No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz in a pre-trade deadline deal with the 76ers, according to ESPN. The move ends the lengthy, bizarre saga for Fultz in Philadelphia since he was selected with the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft ahead of Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum.
The Sixers will receive Jonathan Simmons, the Thunder’s top-20 protected 2019 first-round pick and a second-round pick for Fultz.
Nothing ever went according to plan for Fultz and the 76ers after the team made a huge trade to move up in the 2017 draft to select him out of Washington. The hope was that Fultz would team up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to give Philadelphia a fearsome big three that would take over the Eastern Conference.
Instead, Fultz became engulfed by injury issues and ineffectiveness that eventually led to the end of his time in Philadelphia. He played just 33 games for the 76ers, and averaged just 7.7 points per game on 41 percent shooting.
Still, it was less than two years ago that Fultz was considered good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick, which is why the Magic are willing to take a risk on him. The team needs help at point guard going forward, and Fultz’s potential remains significant if he can get past his health and shooting woes. He’s set to make $9.7 million next season, then the Magic will hold a $12.3 million team option for the 2020-21 season.