Should Phoenix Waltz with Fultz?


Wins have been hard to come by for the Phoenix Suns this season. They are looking at another down year with hopes of taking a big step in rebuilding next year. This unfortunately means winning off the court is going to be more important than winning on the court for now. They have to strike gold in the draft, but even before that, they need to improve their current roster with a trade or two. This is where names like John Wall and Markelle Fultz become very relevant to the Suns and their fans.

Lack of a True Point Guard

The Suns need a point guard. While they have not been successful in finding one so far, they’ll need to figure that out soon. It may be true that the Washington Wizards would love to move Wall, but the Suns shouldn’t touch that contract with a 10-foot pole. Wall is due almost $47 million in 2022! Thanks, but no thanks. His game is nice, but tying the Suns’ future to that deal would be a very risky proposition. The Suns may talk, but it would be shocking if they pull the trigger on that deal.

Should Phoenix Target Fultz?

The main target who is likely available is Markelle Fultz. As you probably know by now, Fultz is having all kinds of issues with his shooting form. His agent has shut him down and asked him to meet with a specialist. From a distance, it looks like most of his issues are mental. However, Fultz did have shoulder issues last year and the latest move suggests he is not entirely past that. While the team isn’t sure anything is wrong physically, his agent is convinced something is not right. This has caused a rather bizarre situation for Fultz and the Sixers. Fultz also reportedly wants a fresh start.

Should the Suns trade for him? The answer is, why not! Fultz can definitely use a change of scenery. The best scenery for him might be in the valley of the sun, where the pressure is low and the expectations are even lower. This season seems like another lost year for the Suns in their long road back to relevancy. They are playing for nothing except developing their young core. Adding Fultz to that core and developing him along, away from the bright lights, is not a bad gamble for a desperate team.

Why It Makes Sense

A slow-developing Fultz only means Phoenix gets another great pick in 2019. This is another good reason to stay away from John Wall. He may be just good enough to take the Suns out of a top five pick, but not good enough to even make the playoffs. A player like Wall may just cost the Suns a shot at a Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett, who look too enticing to pass up right now. Fultz on the other hand is the long game here and hence– a better fit for a lottery team. In the NBA, you are better off being last if you are not first! That gets you multiple shots at high picks. Suns have missed on some and hit on some, but getting another top pick in 2019 is now looking more and more important.

Another reason this deal makes sense is the Suns have assets that could help the Sixers. Philly could probably use a veteran 3-and-D wing like Trevor Ariza. Phoenix just isn’t getting much out of him thus far. Shipping Josh Jackson is something the Suns might have to consider as well. It’s not smart to give up on 20 and 21-year-old’s, but Jackson has not impressed so far this season. The Suns also have multiple options at the forward position. They are way more desperate for a point guard.

Though it makes sense, there are risks involved

Obviously, Fultz does come with big risks. He is clearly in a bad place and nobody really knows how he got there or how to get him out of there. While the rookie salary scale is cheap on average, Fultz comes with a huge price tag because he was the first overall pick. He is owed almost $10 million next season and $12 million in 2020 if his option is exercised. We’ve all seen his talent in college– and it’s still hiding somewhere. Hopefully, it can be put on display again.

Potential Remains

Fultz can be a player in this league under the right conditions. If the Suns have one thing, it’s a top-notch medical and training staff. If Fultz does have lingering shoulder issues, the Suns’ staff should be entrusted to take care of it. This makes a lot of sense for all parties involved. It’s time for the 76ers to move on from what has become a circus. The Suns should roll the dice. A starting lineup of Markelle Fultz, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Zion Williamson, and Deandre Ayton could be dangerous in a few years!


About Aravind Srinivasan

Aravind loves two things- the NBA and writing. He has been a long-time Phoenix Suns fans since the Charles Barkley-Kevin Johnson era of the mid-90’s. He now lives in the Golden State and follows the Warriors closely. An avid sports and NBA blogger since the early days of blogging, he is now a Suns and Dubs writer for TLSM. His favourite Sun is Steve Nash and his favourite Warrior is Steph Curry. Twitter: @15cent

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