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Sixers have talked to Magic, Hawks about Markelle Fultz trade

Markelle Fultz, Sixers

Markelle Fultz’s star-crossed tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers could soon be coming to a close.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Wednesday that the Sixers have engaged in trade discussions concerning the former first overall draft pick with the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks. The news was first noticed by Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

Markelle Fultz’s first two seasons in the NBA have unfolded unlike any other top prospect’s in league history. Following his dominant freshman season at the University of Washington, the Sixers swapped first-round picks with the Boston Celtics to make him the number one selection in the 2017 draft.

Boston, picking third, chose Jayson Tatum, who has since emerged as one of the game’s most promising young wings and recently becomes a key factor in the ongoing Anthony Davis sweepstakes.

However, instead of teaming with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to give the Sixers one of the most talented young triumvirates basketball has ever seen, Fultz has largely been unable to get on the court — beset by a mysterious shoulder injury that caused him to adjust his shooting stroke.

After more than a year of speculation, Fultz was officially diagnosed in December with thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve condition that affects the area between the lower neck and upper chest.

Fultz’s camp has stressed that doctors believe he will make a full recovery once healthy, again able to extend his right arm to the necessary angle that would allow him to regain his shooting touch. But until that proves the case, he has little value to the Sixers, who shocked the NBA world by pushing their championship chips in even further on Wednesday in a trade for Tobias Harris.

Barring a miraculous turnaround between now and April, Brett Brown just wouldn’t be able to count on Fultz in the playoffs.

Fultz’s career in Philadelphia is probably over, but it’s far too soon to write him off  altogether. The Hawks and Magic would both be good fits for the 20-year-old from a basketball perspective, and playing for a less notable team would undoubtedly make his transition back to the court — whenever it happens — a bit easier to stomach mentally.

What it will take to trade for Fultz at this point, though, is truly anyone’s guess.