The Orlando Magic made a big deal at the NBA trade deadline, acquiring a former number one overall pick, in a move that surprised many NBA insiders.
- Magic acquire 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz from 76ers
- 2nd-year pro has been limited to 33 games as pro due to injury
- Magic executives looking at the trade as low-risk/high-reward
The Philadelphia 76ers have sent Markelle Fultz, the first player selected in the 2017 Draft, to the Magic in exchange for forward Jonathon Simmons, a 2020 first-round pick (via Oklahoma City) and a 2019 second-round pick (via Cleveland).
Fultz's professional career has been marred by injury, after he starred for the Washington Huskies as a freshman in the 2016-17 season. The 6'4" guard scored over 23 points per game in his only season of college basketball.
The promise that he showed has been stunted by injuries in the NBA. He was limited to just 14 games in his rookie season, scoring 7.1 points/game and dishing out 3.8 assists/game. He was expected to take on a bigger role in his second season, but injuries and Philadelphia's acquisition of superstar Jimmy Butler put a damper on Fultz's future with the Sixers.
He has not played since November 19th, when he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that affects the nerves between the neck and shoulder.
In 19 games this season, Fultz scored 8.2 points/game, but shot only 42% from the field.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted, "Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond consider the Fultz acquisition as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Magic will proceed with his arrival as long-term project and like chances w/ Steve Clifford and his staff getting to work with the former No. 1 pick."
Simmons was signed by the Magic in the summer of 2017 and was a key part of Orlando's rotation in his first season with the Magic. He started 50 of the 69 games he appeared in, and finished fourth on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg).
His role had diminished in his second season with the club, starting only nine games and appearing in just 41 of the team's 54 games this season.
The Magic will still have their own first-round pick in the 2020 Draft.