Markelle Fultz will get the chance to be like any other player once he decides he’s ready to be one again.
The Philadelphia 76ers expect the second-year point guard to embrace his backup role and contribute to the team’s pursuit of success once he returns from his leave of absence, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday, citing NBA sources. Fultz left the Sixers last week to seek an independent evaluation of his shoulder, which he claims is injured and might be the reason for his ongoing shooting woes. Fultz and the Sixers reportedly expect the tests to run through Wednesday and will decide on a course of action later this week, according to Wojnarowski’s sources.
However, shortly after Fultz’s surprise departure, a rumor claiming he wants a fresh start with another team emerged in the media, as did another report saying the Sixers are looking to trade him because they’re tired of the saga surrounding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
Another consideration is the ever-approaching Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline. The Sixers reportedly will demand a first-round draft pick in exchange for Fultz, and the questions over his physical and mental states, combined with his hefty salary — he’ll earn $9.7 million next season and $12.3 million in 2020-21 if a team picks up his fourth-year option — are major causes for concern among interested teams.
“I’d be surprised if they get any type of first-round pick,” an NBA executive told Bleacher Reports Yaron Weitzman. “It’s just hard for any team who is trying to have space this summer to take a flyer on a guy like that who will eat into their space like he will.”
We only can conclude the best-case scenario Wojnarowski’s sources imagine for the Sixers probably won’t play out how they want it, and his saga will continue to escalate into one of the most intriguing NBA storylines this season.