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The Cleveland Cavaliers have spoken to the Philadelphia 76ers about the availability of second-year guard Markelle Fultz, league sources told Amico Hoops on Sunday.
Fultz was drafted by the Sixers with the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, but shooting struggles and a mysterious shoulder injury have his pro career off to an uneven start.
Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Keith Pompey on Sunday cited multiple sources indicating that the Sixers are contemplating trading Fultz. The Sixers may be willing to move him for a late first-round pick or an expiring contract, Pompey reported.
Fultz is 6-foot-4 and capable of playing either guard position. He is expected to see a shoulder specialist in New York on Monday. The Athletic reported that he appears to be suffering from an injury to his right wrist as well.
Fultz began the season as a starter but moved to the bench in favor of J.J. Redick after a trade for All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler earlier this month. The move was made to give the starting unit more firepower from the perimeter.
Still, Fultz’s agent denied a report from The Athletic that Fultz is seeking a trade.
“I have given no indication to (Sixers general manager) Elton Brand or anyone else that Markelle would prefer to be traded,” agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN. “My focus is to get Markelle healthy. End of story.”
Fultz didn’t get off the bench in the second half of his final game before the shoulder ailment, with Sixers coach Brett Brown opting for T.J. McConnell instead.
Fultz is averaging 8.2 points and 3.1 assists this season, but shooting just 42 percent from the field, including 29 percent on 3-pointers. He is also just 21 of 37 on free throws.
“The (wrist) issue has led to periodic difficulties holding on to the ball during his shot,” The Athletic reported. “Specialists have been working with Fultz to figure out how they can strengthen the wrist area to remedy the injury.”
Meanwhile, the Sixers are in “win-now” mode with the likes of Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. They have repeatedly been linked to Cavs veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
The salaries for Fultz and Korver match to make a straight-up trade possible, though there’s no indication such a deal has been discussed.