Philadelphia guard Markelle Fultz is reportedly at the centre of trade negotiations involving the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Just one day after local Philadelphia reports claimed the former No. 1 pick was no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans, it has emerged the 20-year-old Washington product may have already played his last game for the club.
One week after he was stood down by his own agent from all playing duties, Fultz is scheduled to consult a shoulder specialist in New York on Tuesday (AEDT) to assess if he is healthy enough to return to his regular playing duties.
Player manager Raymond Brothers has denied reports claiming Fultz wants a fresh start at a new NBA team, but the plot thickened on Monday following reports the 76ers have discussed a trade with the Cavs.
Sam Amico of Amico Sports reports Cleveland officials have spoken with the Sixers’ front office — but is unaware of any specific Cavaliers players being identified as trade targets for the Sixers.
It comes after a series of reports recently claimed the Sixers are interested in Cavaliers championship-winning shooter Kyle Korver.
“They have repeatedly been linked to Cavs veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver,” the report claimed.
“The salaries for Fultz and Korver match to make a straight-up trade possible, though there’s no indication such a deal has been discussed.”
On the NBA draft rookie salary scale, Fultz is reportedly set to earn around US$8 million for his second season in the NBA as the 2017 NBA Draft’s No. 1 overall pick.
An expected trade would bring Fultz’s sad rollercoaster ride in Philadelphia to an end, having played in just 33 games since he was drafted.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported over the weekend that “Fultz is no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans” as the team’s front office continues to bicker with Fultz’s agent.
Fultz has seen his playing time reduced since the Sixers acquired All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this month to form a superstar trio with Joel Embiid and Australian Ben Simmons.
Last week Fultz played only seven minutes and scored zero points against Phoenix, but after the game did not mention anything about an injury. The next day his agent, Raymond Brothers, told the media the point guard would not play again until he saw a specialist for an examination on his ailing shoulder this coming week.
Sixers coach Brett Brown and general manager Elton Brand both said that news came a surprise to them.
“There’s nothing we saw medically that didn’t allow him to play,” Brand said after practice on Wednesday (NT time).
“He played last night. He played two days ago.”
— with AAP