The Orlando Magic took a flier on Markelle Fultz at the trade deadline, but they still have no idea when the former No. 1 overall pick will suit up for them.
An ongoing right shoulder injury has limited Markelle Fultz to 33 games since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2017. The 76ers essentially gave up in February, sending Fultz to the Orlando Magic for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick and forward Jonathon Simmons.
Fultz did not play at all for the Magic over the balance of last season, as they were content not to rush him back during their run to a playoff spot. Patience will be a virtue regarding Fultz, and it appears Orlando will continue to expect nothing until further notice.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Fultz’s rehab process has been going “very well.” But speaking to 96.9 The Game in Orlando on Monday, general manager John Hammond spoke more broadly with less overall optimism.
He will not play in summer league with us,” “We didn’t think there was any way that he was going to do that. We didn’t plan on him doing that. So probably not the place for him right now. But overall, I can just say that he’s doing well.
So, it’s just a matter of him just continuing to get more comfortable, continuing for him to get himself in a position where he’s ready to step on the floor and help us.”And, look, we have no idea when that’s going to be. We’re hoping much, much sooner than later. But once again, we’re trying to do this the best we can, and that’s have that word of patience.
The Magic have Fultz under control for the next three seasons, with a $9.74 million salary for next season, and $12.29 million team option for 2020-21 and the ability to extend him a qualifying offer for 2021-22.
So the current preach of patience from Hammond is within reason right now. But it’s worth wondering when that patience will run out, and when Fultz’s shoulder problems might effectively end his NBA career before it really started.