After finally being dealt from the Philadelphia 76ers back in February, Markelle Fultz already looks like a Magical mess in Orlando.
In a recent interview with ‘In the Zone with Kravitz & Shot‘ on 96.9 The Game, Orlando Magic GM John Hammond mentioned that Fultz would not suit up for his new club in the Summer League in July, despite being ‘in good shape’.
When pressed on the matter, Hammond continued on, stating:
And look, we have no idea when that’s going to be. We’re hoping much, much sooner than later. But once again, we’re trying to do this the best we can, and that’s have that word of patience.
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Wow, talk about a vote of confidence.
After starting 15 of his 19 games with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019, Fultz took a very, very well documented sabbatical from the team to deal with thoracic outlet syndrome starting on November 20th.
From there, Fultz met with doctors, specialists, and even more specialists with seemingly no hope that he’d ever suit up in a red, white, and blue jersey ever again.
Spoiler alert, he didn’t.
As the 76ers retooled their roster on the eve of the 2019 NBA trade deadline, turning over close to half of their roster in a three-day period, Elton Brand and crew made the (probably) embarrassing decision to ship Fultz to Orlando for a future protected first round pick, a second round pick, and an eventually traded Jonathon Simmons at the 11th hour.
While the move left plenty of egg on the Sixers’ face, as teams very seldom give up on a first overall pick (let alone one they traded a second pick to acquire), Philly simply couldn’t afford to keep him around at a close to $10 million fully guaranteed in 2019, let alone at over $12 million in 2020.
Now Orlando has to decide just how much they are willing to invest in a player who simply doesn’t play basketball. If he can return to his rookie form, or *gasp* live up to the potential that made him the first overall pick in the first place, this very well might go down as a win for the Magic in their attempt to field a championship contender for the first time since the Shaq–Penny-era, but if he continues to be a (more or less) healthy scratch, it becomes harder and harder to imagine Markelle Fultz ever playing in the NBA again.
Fortunately for the Philadelphia 76ers, that’s no longer their problem. With free agency about to open up and two-thirds of the team without a 2019 contract, it looks like whiffing on a first overall pick may not deter a championship berth in the City of Brotherly Love like many may have feared back in November.