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San Antonio Spurs rumors: Exploring a potential Markelle Fultz trade

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers high fives JJ Redick #17 against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers high fives JJ Redick #17 against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers defends against the Phoenix Suns on November 19, 2018 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers defends against the Phoenix Suns on November 19, 2018 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Markelle Fultz situation continues to grab headlines across the NBA. We explore one of the San Antonio Spurs rumors of a potential Fultz trade.

The San Antonio Spurs rumors of possible trades are starting to heat up as we head into trade season.

The Markelle Fultz saga in Philadelphia has been one of the great mysteries in league history, and it continues to perplex those who follow the NBA to this day.

Fultz is currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury, but rumors have been flying regarding a potential trade as the Sixers plan on making a push for the NBA Finals this season.

The Spurs haven’t been mentioned in the Fultz sweepstakes (if you can call it that) yet, but they seem like a reasonable destination for a talented player who is looking to restart his career.

In order to find out if a potential trade makes sense we need to know more about Fultz’s shoulder situation, whether his career is still salvageable, and what kind of package the Spurs would have to put together to make that happen.

We’ll dive into each one of those topics in the following slides:

Next: Markelle Fultz's Injury

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the game from the bench in the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Suns 119-114. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the game from the bench in the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Suns 119-114. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Markelle Fultz’s Injury

The Markelle Fultz situation reminds Spurs fans of the Kawhi Leonard ordeal San Antonio dealt with for the past couple of seasons.

Team doctors insisted that their player was healthy enough to play, but the player insisted on seeking outside opinions because they didn’t feel right, and they ultimately got a diagnosis to support their side of the story.

Fultz has been diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

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According to Woj, the condition “affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball. TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) is treatable by physical therapy.”

Fultz learned of that diagnosis in early December, and his initial timetable for a return was reportedly 3-6 weeks.

Learning of this diagnosis gives Fultz’s career prospects some hope because his poor play could be blamed on that injury, and Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is treatable.

Next: Does Fultz have the yips?

ORLANDO, FL – NOVEMBER 14: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Orlando Magic on November 14, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL – NOVEMBER 14: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Orlando Magic on November 14, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Does Fultz have the yips?

While Fultz’s diagnosis does give us some hope that his shooting struggles can be fixed, it is also possible that his confidence has taken a major hit from this entire ordeal.

We have seen flashes of brilliance from the former number one overall pick during his brief NBA career, including a triple-double against the Bucks last April and a few other games where he showed how well-rounded his skill set could be.

Related Story. Should the Spurs take a chance on Jimmer Fredette?

There’s really no way to predict how his ugly shooting form will be repaired once he is healthy, or if he can ever get that confidence that he showed in college back. And that’s why there is a significant amount of risk in a potential trade.

But if an organization feels like they have the right coaching and medical staff to help Fultz realize his potential, like the Spurs think they do, then it may be worth taking a chance on a player with his type of talent.

Next: What could the Spurs give up?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against Isaiah Canaan #0 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against Isaiah Canaan #0 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

What could the Spurs give up?

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Assuming the Raptors fall outside of the top 20 in this year’s draft, the Spurs should have enough assets to get a deal done.

San Antonio can offer one of their two upcoming first round picks in a potential Fultz trade and make the salaries work by swapping Pau Gasol for Mike Muscala. Or the Spurs could put Patty Mills on the table if Philadelphia is looking for someone that can help them win right away.

I think packaging Mills and one of this year’s first round picks is too much to give up in a situation with this much uncertainty, but the Spurs would be buying incredibly low right now so it may not take that much to get a deal done.

It’s difficult to determine what Philadelphia’s asking price would be, but I believe Patty Mills and a second round pick would be enough to entice the Sixers into picking up the phone.

Swapping Patty Mills for Markelle Fultz would probably hurt the Spurs’ chances of competing this season with Fultz’s uncertain injury situation. However, it could end up being the bargain of the century if the former number one overall pick realizes his potential with the help of one of the league’s best shooting coaches and a trusted medical staff.

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The Spurs should take a chance on Jabari Parker. Next

There is a ceiling on what this team can accomplish with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way. But adding Fultz would increase the team’s potential in the next couple of years, and he could become the next great Spur with the proper support system.

Sending Mills and a second round pick to Philadelphia isn’t too much to give up for someone with Fultz’s talent level. If the Sixers are willing to give up on Fultz for that price, I would pull the trigger on this deal.

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