SIXERS TRADING FULTZ FOR SIMMONS AND 2 PICKS IS A STEAL!

By Peter Gleason

One of the basic rules of modern sports ownership derives from Donald Trump:

Never admit a mistake.

Even if it is so obvious that a blind man can see it.

That’s what the Sixers GM Elton Brand did yesterday by finally ending the psychodrama that the drafting of Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick had become.

SIXERS GET: Jonathon Simmons, protected first-round pick and second-round pick.

MAGIC GET: Markelle Fultz.

By trading Fultz and therefore missing out on a potential career and reputation renaissance, the Sixers have officially moved to the front of the line for the worst No. 1 pick of all time.

Not only did they get just 33 games out of the 2017 No. 1 pick, they parted with a future first-round pick to trade up to nab him.

Fultz’s run in Philly was mystifying: projected as a talented scorer, he averaged just 7.7 points per game and never scored more than 16 points in a game as he battled mysterious health concerns.

They have taken on significant risk by trading for veterans Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris over the last six months, and they will either be paying through the nose to keep them or watching them leave this summer with no compensation.

In the event that their win-now buildup fails to produce immediate playoff results, having Fultz around for next season and beyond would have been a nice organizational hedge. There are still reasons to believe that he could eventually live up to expectations. After all, he hasn’t turned 21 yet or suffered a catastrophic injury.

Trading Fultz is a defensible idea, but the face-saving return here is simply too modest:

The first-round pick coming back is top-20 protected, and Simmons, who will fill a hole on the wing, is forgettable. If this was the best that the Sixers could do, they should have kept hoping and waiting. It seems like first-year GM Elton Brand has crossed the fine line between assertiveness and impatience this week.

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