The Markelle Fultz era in Philadelphia is over. The Philadelphia 76ers announced on Thursday that they have traded Fultz to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Jonathon Simmons, a 2020 protected first-round pick (via Oklahoma City) and a 2019 second-round pick.
Oklahoma City’s 2020 first-round pick is protected Nos. 1-20. If it does not convey in 2020, it becomes two Thunder second-round picks (2022 and 2023). The 2019 second-round pick will be the most favorable selection of Cleveland, Houston, Orlando, and Portland.
Fultz, 20, was originally selected by Philadelphia with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. He appeared in 33 games (15 starts) over a season-plus, averaging 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. However, due to injury, Fultz was never able to have a successful run with the 76ers. In reality, Fultz needed a change of scenery. He is in a smaller market, and hopefully, he can get right.
The 29-year-old Simmons has appeared in 41 games (nine starts) with the Magic this season and is averaging 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 20.6 minutes per contest.
Dwight Howard went home to Atlanta last year after signing a three-year, $70.5 million deal, but after one season with the Hawks, the team wanted to go in a different direction. Howard, who was traded by the Hawks to the Hornets last week, will have an opportunity to be reunited with Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. As an assistant coach with the Magic and Lakers, Clifford worked with Howard for six seasons.
The Hornets introduced Howard today. The 31-year-old center will get another chance to prove the doubters wrong. Howard feels Charlotte is a great opportunity, and feels he has a lot left in the tank.
“I think I’m a lot healthier than I’ve been in the past five years. I think this is gonna be my best time,” Howard said.
“A lot of people always talk about the past, but I think I’m a lot wiser now, stronger, mentally and physically. I’m in the right place. Great coach, great GM, and the GOAT (Michael Jordan), so I think this is the perfect opportunity.”
Howard is not the same guy that Clifford coached in Orlando, but he still can be an effective player in the right situation. Howard is familiar with Steve Clifford, and averaged a double-double last season in Atlanta. Clifford told reporters last week that he believes Howard can still play at a high level. Plus, the Hornets really did not give up much up to get Howard. Charlotte reportedly wanted Howard last year before he signed with Atlanta.
This move is worth the risk for Jordan and the Hornets.
LeBron James went home, and won a championship in Cleveland. Dwight Howard went home, and the Hawks went out in the first-round.
“I didn’t come back here just to come back home. I came here to win,” Howard told reporters. Also, Howard was not happy with his role in Atlanta.
“I want to play. I want to be out on the floor. I want to make a difference. I want to make an impact, and I can’t do that on the bench.” Howard told reporters.
The 31-year-old Howard averaged only 8 ppg in the playoffs, and was not much a factor against the Wizards.
Howard signed a 3-year, 70.5 million dollar deal with the Hawks last summer. Atlanta might be stuck with him, so I guess they will have to make it work!