Philly Front Office

Why the Sixers cannot trade Markelle Fultz for a rental

With the NBA trade deadline on the way, the Sixers should hang on to Markelle Fultz

It’s trade season, and with the Sixers a legitimate contender, they are a buyer on the market. The Sixers could use everything from a 3 and D wing to a backup center. The Sixers, who have a big three of stars, do not have as many assets as the Celtics or Lakers. Realistically, if a team called Elton Brand and mentioned one of the big three in a trade, he would hang up. With that said, the Sixers most valuable assets are Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith, and the Miami Heat 2021 first round pick.

First of all, shoutout to Brett Brown. Trading Mikal Bridges (who doesn’t look great) to get two of those three assets was huge.

Trade rumors are flying left and right. While the Sixers will not be in the market for Anthony Davis, they can benefit otherwise. It’s not just the Pelicans, either. Teams like the Hawks and the Knicks are selling veteran pieces that can be crucial for a young team’s playoff run.

With that said, most of these pieces are rentals. Names linked to the Sixers include: Nikola Mirotic, Wesley Matthews, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Courtney Lee and Dewayne Dedmond. All these names have one thing in common: they are rentals.

As alluded to earlier, the Sixers biggest asset is either Markelle Fultz or the 2021 Heat Pick. While I am 100% open to dealing the pick, I am reluctant to trade Markelle Fultz for a rental.

Potential

I have to get something off my chest: I believe in Markelle Fultz. He is extremely talented, and I know if he can get healthy why he was chosen #1 will be evident. With that said, it seems the Sixers are open to dealing him. 

Does trading Fultz for a rental make sense? NO. I would trade Fultz for a player such as Jrue Holiday, however. Not for a one year piece such as Nikola Mirotic.

Fultz, even without a jump shot, is the Sixers’ fifth best player. Now that he is working with Judy Seto on his shoulder, who knows what his shot is going to look like. If no improvement is shown, a trade should be explored. Right now, Markelle Fultz is untouchable in a deal centered around a player with a one year contract.

Why a trade does not make sense

Will the Sixers win the NBA Finals this year? Most likely not (they did just beat the Warriors, though). Does Nikola Mirotic or Wesley Matthews improve the Sixers more than Markelle Fultz would. Absolutely. Would they be anything after this year? Absolutely NOT. Markelle Fultz possibly could.

Look, if the Sixers truly believe they can contend this year, then maybe a deal would be acceptable. In addition, if the Sixers feel they can get one of these players to stay long term, then Fultz should be included.

The rest of the season

Dennis Scott apparently slipped in an interview that Markelle Fultz could return after all-star weekend, which makes my point even stronger.

The Sixers’ biggest need is a wing defender, and Fultz can be that. If Scott’s report is true, the Sixers could get more from Fultz than half the targets I mentioned earlier.

Am I blind to the fact that this situation is ridiculous? No way. The way Raymond Brothers has approached this situation has left the Sixers in a tough position. Do they trade him for a rental? Can they trust Fultz to be honest about his shooting woes, or will they continue to (reportedly) bluff?

Brothers and Fultz stressed this offseason that the form issues were due to injuries, and he was back to normal. Now either they completely lied, or they had no idea the season would turn out so poorly. Either way, that will not sit well with Elton Brand or Brett Brown.

I would even go as far as saying some of those names aren’t worth Fultz even if he does not suit up this season.

I may just be biased, but I strongly feel the potential of Markelle is way too high to give up on him after just 33 career games.

I am impatient, just like every other Philadelphia sports fan. But with the additions of Landry Shamet and Zhaire Smith (who is reportedly suiting up for the Blue Coats next week, according to our very own JBlevins), I am confident in saying the Sixers can comfortably wait for Fultz.

The team can clearly still succeed without him, but having him improves them in so many ways.

Fultz averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 19 games this season. 

Jack Margolin

Jack is a Phillies writer for Philly Front Office. He has been following Philly sports since day 1 and has always found a passion in sports journalism. Jack can be found on Twitter @JDM5335.

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