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Markelle Fultz to begin tonight’s game on bench

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, JJ Redick will replace Markelle Fultz in tonight’s starting lineup:

With former Sixers starters Robert Covington and Dario Saric being traded to Minnesota as part of a deal that brought Jimmy Butler to Philly, a new starting lineup had to be constructed. Butler sliding in in place of Covington was always an obvious first move. Now we know that Dario’s spot will be filled by Wilson Chandler for at least tonight, rather than Mike Muscala who some expected to get the starting nod.

As for Fultz, his relegation to the bench isn’t a total surprise but it’s certainly a move that will send a few different (and conflicting) messages depending on the recipients. After news of the trade for Butler broke, the first thought of many Sixers fans was about what the trade meant for Markelle. Trading for a 29-year-old All-Star is a “win now” move, while starting a 20-year-old developing ball-handler is a move done with an eye on the long term. A transition to the bench for ‘Kelle could be a mere strategic decision by Brett Brown to stagger the minutes of players who need the ball in their hands. On the other hand, it could be an organizational message that patience is running thin for experimentation and growth opportunities.