The Orlando Magic were an afterthought among the big movers on NBA trade deadline day, but they might’ve turned their franchise around.
Thursday before 2 p.m. Central time was a mad-house in the NBA. Teams were wheeling and dealing, especially teams in the Eastern Conference, and all the major moves seemed to be over and done with. Then, with 18 minutes to go until the NBA trade deadline, the Orlando Magic made their move.
In exchange for Jonathan Simmons, a first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a second-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Magic acquired Markelle Fultz. Fultz has not started his career off on the right foot by any means, and at this point, the Philadelphia 76ers seemed more interested in washing their hands of him than anything else.
That worked out quite nicely for the Magic. After all of the injury and shooting form debacles that have plagued Fultz in his young career, it’s easy to forget the promise he showed in one NCAA season. For a reminder, here’s what DraftExpress writer Mike Schmitz said about him after the 76ers made the draft day deal to get Fultz:
"Fultz is a franchise lead guard, future All-Star, and a player any organization can build around. … Fultz also has the size and length to defend twos, and even some threes in smaller lineups. All in all, he’s a versatile, plug and play lead guard with star potential who is easy to build around or fit into a current roster."
Orlando got that guy for Simmons, who is currently shooting 22.9 percent from 3-point range and less than 40 percent from the field, an Oklahoma City Thunder pick that will certainly fall in the bottom 10 or so selections and a pretty nice second-rounder. If Fultz can even approach the potential so many saw in him, this deal will be monumental for Orlando.
The Magic were, and are, overloaded with big guys. The one position they were really lacking on was point guard. Now Orlando can bring Markelle Fultz into a situation with virtually no pressure or spotlight and let him recover, play, and grow. This is a best-case scenario for player and franchise, and it could end up becoming a reclamation project for both parties. Good for the Magic.
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