According to a report by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phoenix Suns have “some level of interest” in Markelle Fultz:
Markelle Fultz’s trade value has dwindled, but there is a market for him — under a certain condition. He and his representatives need to be truthful, a league source says.
In other words, potential 76ers trade partners don’t want Fultz saying that his right shoulder and wrist are bothering him if he actually has a mental block that’s hindering his shooting, the source said.
That was the word coming out of Cleveland, as the Cavaliers were interested in taking a chance on the 2017 first overall pick before trading Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, sources said. The Phoenix Suns are among the teams with some level of interest, a source said.
This report actually came out two days ago, but I was at first hesitant to publish anything about it. “Some level of interest”? I have some level of interest in ayahuasca, but I’m not joining the next caravan into the Amazon basin. I’d guess nearly all other 29 teams in the NBA have some level of interest in Markelle Fultz and about zero of them would be willing to part with anything of significance to acquire him. It’s not that Fultz has no shot at turning things around, it’s that the Sixers have no leverage due to the mystery of the situation.
So how serious are the Suns about engaging in trade talks? That depends on how desperate or not-so-desperate the Sixers are to move Markelle, if they’re even interested in doing so at all (I believe they are). The Suns are playing to hit the draft lottery once again with a 4-17 record, and they have been searching for a point guard of the future for years — they gave Brandon Knight $70 million once upon a time, for crying out loud. So the Suns would likely be happy to take a flier on Fultz, which puts the ball in the Sixers’ court. Can the Sixers accept their sunk costs, and move on for pennies on the dollar?
One possibly acceptable scenario for a Fultz-to-Suns trade could involve the Sixers receiving the Suns’ veteran forward Trevor Ariza, a player many Sixers fans believe would have been a great signing this past offseason, when Ariza was a free agent. Ariza would likely slot into the starting lineup taking on the four role, pushing Wilson Chandler to the bench. Ariza cannot be traded until December 15th (because he just signed in Phoenix in July), but that’s now just two weeks away.
Fire up the trade machine, my friends.