Could this former Sixer be the next trade piece?

The Sixers have a guard problem. It is not a unique issue in Philadelphia, as the team has been plagued by this for several years, but they currently only have two reliable guards in Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton. Though they are reliable, neither are floor generals and they are both undersized. To combat this, they should look to acquire a guard that has those missing skills. Shockingly, that solution could be a familiar face: Markelle Fultz.

Orlando Magic v Philadelphia 76ers
Orlando Magic v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

There are several hurdles to address when discussing Markelle Fultz, but he could be the exact piece this team needs. For starters, Markelle Fultz had a tumultuous time in Philadelphia after being the number one overall pick and seemingly forgetting how to shoot for a team that desperately needed shooting. This team still has an issue with shooting a high number of threes, but they no longer have Ben Simmons, which makes targeting Fultz a bit more feasible.

It is unknown if Fultz could handle the mental toll of playing for Philadelphia again after his disappointing tenure, but Fultz has improved with the Orlando Magic. He is not a perfect piece, but his athleticism, playmaking, ball-handling, defense, and scoring make him an intriguing option. He has yet to make a three this season through five games, but he is no longer the liability he once was from deep. 

Each year since leaving Philadelphia, Fultz has shown steady improvement as a well-rounded basketball player, becoming a reliable mid-range shooter and slasher, with dramatic improvements to his free throw percentage. Fultz’s length, athleticism, and instincts have made him a plus-defensive player as well. This would provide the Sixers with a unique combination of skills to pair with their existing guards.

Another positive of Markelle Fultz is he would not cost much.

The Magic have a glut of point guards with Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, and the 6th overall pick, Anthony Black. The Magic have been incredibly successful with Fultz out because of their guard depth, but also because they desperately need shooting. Even if they are not great shooters, each of the above-listed guards are much better shooter than Markelle Fultz.

Fultz is an expiring, and it may be advantageous for the Magic to free up their logjam at point guard, while also giving their centerpieces, Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, the requisite shooting around them to succeed. It seems unlikely that they will heavily pursue re-signing Markelle Fultz after the season, so it may be in their best interests to trade him now, even if it is for a minimal return.

The most logical trade framework would be Marcus Morris and multiple second-round picks for Fultz. The Magic ditch a player they no longer need for assets, while the Sixers get rid of a player that should probably not be in the rotation anyway and minimal assets for a desperately needed guard. The Sixers could still pursue another star via trade if they go this route, and it wouldn't impact their cap space this summer.

Alternatively, the Sixers could offload Tobias Harris for Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, and Chuma Okeke if the Magic are just looking to create cap space for next season. It is unknown what type of deal the Magic would be looking for, as two playoff teams from the same conference trading with each other can get tricky, but it could be a win-win deal.

If traded to Philadelphia, Fultz would likely be the first guard off the bench and could even see some spot starts depending on the matchups with him replacing De’Anthony Melton. It would be extremely useful to limit the number of minutes Maxey has to play, as he is one of the league leaders in minutes-per-game, and by acquiring a player that could run an offense in Fultz, it becomes much more feasible.

Fultz would have to start shooting like he has in previous years for the Magic, but at the very least he has strengths that fill the void of some of the Sixers' weaknesses and solve the backup guard problem.