After selecting him with the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally turning the page on the Markelle Fultz era.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that the Sixers have traded Fultz to the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Jonathon Simmons, a first-round pick (via Oklahoma City) and a second-round pick.
Earlier this week and late last week, there were varying reports on if the Sixers were actually going to move the 20-year-old point guard. Last week, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that the Atlanta Hawks expressed interest in Fultz.
The former University of Washington point guard has not played in a game since Nov. 19 and was diagnosed with (TOS) thoracic outlet syndrome in December.
In 19 games this season, Fultz is averaging 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 22.5 minutes per game. Overall, he has only played in 33 games in his short NBA career.
Last season, Fultz missed a majority of his rookie campaign due to scapular muscle imbalance. He ultimately would play in 14 games, which included a triple-double performance against the Milwaukee Bucks in the regular season finale.
Fultz will now join an Orlando squad that was looking to acquire a young point guard to go along with the core of players that they have intact (N. Vucevic, A. Gordon, J. Isaac, M. Bamba).
That being said, it should not come as a surprise to see the Magic take a flyer on Fultz. Earlier this season, Chris Sheridan of GetMoreSports wrote in a column how Orlando along with the Phoenix Suns were the top contenders to acquire him.
Along those same lines, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reported on Thursday that Orlando will be patient with Fultz and might sit him for the rest of the season. If Fultz can revert back to his old days at Washington, then the Magic’s low-risk bet may pay off.
However, in regards to the Sixers, they were able to get some draft assets back and a solid bench player in Simmons. The 29-year-old veteran forward is known more his defense, going back to his San Antonio Spurs days, which is what Philly was seeking to add to their bench.
In 41 games this season with Orlando, Simmons is averaging 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 20.6 minutes per game. He is also scheduled to make $5.7 million next, before becoming a free agent in 2020.
With the acquisitions of Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott, James Ennis and now Simmons, the Sixers appear to be ready to make their push towards the Eastern Conference Finals and possibly the NBA Finals.