San Antonio Spurs rumors: Exploring a potential Markelle Fultz trade
By Andrew Ites
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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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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.