Look: Magic’s Markelle Fultz Ideal Jazz Offseason Trade Target

Markelle Fultz, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The 2022-23 NBA season did not go as planned for the Utah Jazz. Last offseason, they underwent a full rebuild, trading away veterans Royce O’Neale, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic. Ahead of the trade deadline they also unloaded Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and Mike Conley Jr.

Despite what their intentions seemed to be heading into the season, the Jazz played way above expectations. A big reason for that was the play of Lauri Markkanen and rookie Walker Kessler, their new frontcourt duo.

Markkanen played well enough to make the All-Star team, which threw a wrench in the team’s plan. Utah ended the season 37-45, which in most cases would be considered a success. But they are now kind of stuck in the middle, where you don’t want to be in the NBA. They aren’t good enough to contend for a title and were too good to really get in on the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

This offseason the Jazz should look to continue building up their roster. They have a strong foundation and can challenge for a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament, at the very least, next season.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic & Utah Jazz Updates

One position they could look to upgrade is the point guard. One offseason trade that Utah could explore, according to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report is with the Orlando Magic for Markelle Fultz.

Fultz has done a wonderful job of getting his career back on track after a devastating shoulder injury led to some real hiccups with the Philadelphia 76ers. He played in 60 games this season, setting career-highs in points, assists, rebounds and steals, averaging 14.0, 5.7, 3.9 and 1.5 per game.

Part of the reason Hughes believes Fultz could be available this season is because of his skill set. With the Magic building around Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, Fultz’s inability to shoot from the perimeter makes him a tough fit.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic & Utah Jazz Updates

“Markelle Fultz comes with his own shooting issues, but that’s exactly why the Magic should view him as expendable,” Hughes wrote. “Orlando needs its guards to spread the floor and hit spot-ups looks if it is going to run the offense through forwards Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, and Fultz’s stroke just isn’t reliable enough to fit the bill—even if he defends and passes at a high level.”

The shooting struggles could make for some difficulties in Utah as well, but he would fill a leadership void that was left with Conley getting traded. His impact defensively is what the Jazz would benefit the most from, as they would have a legitimate shutdown option at the point of attack defensively with Fultz combining with Kris Dunn.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic & Utah Jazz Updates

A suggested trade by Hughes would be Fultz for Collin Sexton straight up. That kind of deal would be a win for both sides as each would be a fit for their new team. Fultz’s playmaking and defense would help set the tone in Utah while Orlando would benefit greatly from Sexton’s 3-point shooting and scoring prowess.

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