Markelle Fultz has announced his preference to move to a new team. The LA Clippers have the assets to trade for the former first-overall pick, and reason to believe that they have the people in place to help regain his shot. The danger is overpaying, and Fultz’ value couldn’t be lower.
This news comes via The Athletic. I’m going to say it up front: Avery Bradley is not worth Markelle Fultz. It is not that Avery’s defense is something to hang on to, regardless of what Doc says about him. It’s that we’re likely able to get something interesting out of him. He’s 27, has only one more year on his contract after this season, and yes, him being 2016 All-Defensive Team is worth way more than Fultz.
But the Clippers should lightly consider trading for him, despite Fultz’s missing shot, despite his weird mental issues that come out in increasingly bizarre ways, and despite that going to see a medical specialist on advice of his attorney should raise up more red flags than a Danish military parade.
Every team right now is asking themselves if they have the ability to fix Fultz’s shot and get him back to looking like the first-overall pick he once was. What they should be asking is if they have the assets to give that make sense within the context of their team.
The Clippers do. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we are stacked at the guard position.
Milos Teodosic is not long for the Clippers as is. He’s 31, on an expiring contract, and as said before, we have plenty of guards as is. He comes in for some veteran passing to bring a spark to the team, but altogether he only serves to provide a different look to the opposing team.
We will be taking on a little under $2 million more in cap space this season, and an additional $1.2 million next season, which probably won’t jam us up in the summer as we pursue top-tier free agents. (The likelihood of Bradley being moved, as well as the possibility of moving Danilo Gallinari, also renders worrying about $2 million moot. A lot more money’s going to be moving around later this season/this coming offseason.)
Milos’ value to us drops with each passing game, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander builds his game up, starts more and takes on more minutes. By the end of this season, those minutes for Milos will simply not exist.
Moreover, Sam Cassell is the guard whisperer. If Fultz can’t find his shot after working with Cassell and practicing alongside the professional scorer Lou Williams, then he won’t find his shot anywhere.
I want to make it clear: this is not me excited about the prospect of getting Fultz. The guy makes me extremely nervous, tempered only by the fact that he’s got this year and one other on his contract (with a team option for 20-21). Plus, there’s not a guarantee that the 76ers would take this trade, and they likely won’t.
But if the Clippers are going to trade for him, this is the only trade they should make. If the 76ers want a second round pick, maybe, but anything more than that and we are overpaying for the league’s biggest question mark of a player. And coming from a front office that’s proven themselves to be patient and not prone to silly mistakes, I doubt they’d even give up the second rounder.
Fultz will always be a gamble, but if we’re going to do it, we should do it with house money.