Markelle Fultz is looking better than ever according to head coach Steve Clifford and Rob Hennigan’s gamble on former #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz could be paying off going forward. The Sixers lost optimism that Fultz would ever become a star in Philly but with Fultz due for a breakout the Magic should consider making a move for James Harden which will more than likely give the Orlando Magic the best back-court in the NBA assuming Markelle Fultz worked on his shooting mechanics and 100 percent healthy and ready to put to use those freakish long arms on defense as he looks to become the best 2 way point guard in the game. Markelle Fultz is a true point guard and would be more than willing to sacrifice shots for a shooting guard of James Harden’s caliber.
So the trade would send over James Harden,Thaddeus Young,Lauri Markkanen, and Dean Wade to the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers will receive Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, the Houston Rockets would acquire Collin Sexton,Otto Porter Jr,Larry Nance Jr,and Khem Birch, and the Chicago Bulls would receive Kevin Love,Terrence Ross,and Cedi Osman. I’ll break down the trade for each team and how each team will benefit from their acquisitions. I’ll start off with the Chicago Bulls, I once remember the Chicago Bulls front office mention Wendell Carter Jr and Lauri Markkanen were off limits but at this point I am a bit more optimistic about watching Wendell Carter Jr under Billy Donovan than Lauri Markkanen.
Let’s face it how much better will Lauri Markkanen? Will he ever be as good as Dirk Nowitzki? More than likely not which leads me to think the Bulls should move him to the Orlando Magic where he could serve as a 3rd-4th option behind Markelle Fultz and James Harden. Kevin Love would give the Bulls a veteran and legitimate scoring partner for Zach Lavine and would also improve the Bulls’s rebounding.
Terrence Ross can compete with Patrick Williams for starters minutes at the 3 or shoot for 6th man of the year as a scorer off the bench for the Chicago Bulls, Cedi Osman I don’t see becoming a core piece for the Cavaliers and he would just be taking away minutes from newly drafted Isaac Okoro who the Cavaliers will need to give minutes to if they want to put some defense out there. Isaac Okoro is a defensive specialist and projects to be a Andre Iguodala clone at the NBA level, Cleveland finished close to last in points allowed last season so freeing up minutes for Isaac Okoro could be the answer to accelerating their rebuild.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers you get Aaron Gordon who would take over for Kevin Love at power-forward, up until now Aaron Gordon has not fulfilled his potential but he just is what he is at this point. With a floor general like Darius Garland out there the game will become easier for Aaron Gordon and not that Markelle Fultz wouldn’t have helped Aaron Gordon excel it’s just Aaron Gordon has been in the way of Jonathan Isaac for years and with small-forward Chuma Okeke looking to make a splash this coming season Aaron Gordon’s time is up in Orlando.
Once Jonathan Isaac returns from injury there will be no room for him in the starting lineup and he would not be worth re-signing as well. Aaron Gordon is a combo forward,he can handle,he has a very good mid-range game, and can create his own offense but he hasn’t made the strides defensively needed to take his game to the next level. Evan Fournier will give you some floor-spacing and 20-30 points a night and could start alongside Darius Garland in Cleveland and serves as more of a complimentary piece as opposed to Collin Sexton who is much more ball dominant, Evan Fournier does a majority of his work shooting coming off screens and does not dribble much since he isn’t much of a play-maker.
The Houston Rockets get Collin Sexton, not that bad of a replacement and more than likely never becomes the household name James Harden has become in Houston but maybe he won’t be far off. Collin Sexton is fearless and high level scorer, early on his career the question was is he Allen Iverson or is he Jason Kidd and he is a score first guard period, he is thinking about scoring 30-40 points and although he might be undersized for a shooting guard I salivate at what John Wall and Collin Sexton would look like breaking down defenses in Houston. Otto Porter Jr former 3rd overall pick got his big pay-day in Washington but he hasn’t proved himself in Chicago due to injuries, at this point he isn’t worth re-signing for the Chicago Bulls as his current deal expires. Maybe he becomes a late-bloomer in Houston, Larry Nance Jr gives the Rockets needed depth behind Christian Wood and Demarcus Cousins.
And to conclude James Harden lands on the Orlando Magic. this is all about playing alongside Markelle Fultz who I believe could become the best point-guard in the league over the next 4-5 years. I can’t think of a more complete point-guard than Markelle Fultz in the league right now, maybe if Chris Paul was 3 years younger but seeing how much success James Harden had alongside Chris Paul leads me to think he could replicate that in Orlando with Markelle Fultz. You throw in Lauri Markkanen who would help bolster the Magic’s front-court scoring giving them two bigs who can get you 20-30 points a night and bring defenses out to the 3-point line and you have a recipe for success. Think of a lineup of Fultz/Harden/Isaac/Markkanen/Nikola going into the 2021-2022 season? Which team in the East competes with that assuming Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac reach their ceilings ? Good luck Eastern Conference.