Markelle Fultz was traded from the Sixers to the Magic at the deadline in what will hopefully be a positive move for the sophomore guard.
A change of scenery could be a good thing after so much attention was on him in Philadelphia as he watched Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid emerge as young stars around him and the Sixers suddenly become a contender in the East. In Orlando, he can take his time in returning from rehab for thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis in his right shoulder, and since he was dealt there, he has been rehabbing in Los Angeles.
Now, Fultz is finally joining his new club while he continues rehab, and the expectation remains he won’t actually play this season, as coach Steve Clifford indicated not long ago. There’s no timetable on Fultz’s return, but one would expect Orlando to take a very cautious approach given his history with that shoulder.
Using the word “assimilated” indicates the Magic just want Fultz to get used to the facilities, staff, and his teammates as they hope he can be a part of the team next year. Having him around the team will allow him to grow more comfortable in his new home and also start really seeing what Clifford and the staff are asking the team to do, so he can have a head start for a hopeful return in the 2019-20 season.
According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Fultz is moving his rehab from California to Orlando and rejoined the team on Tuesday to watch them practice. Fultz told Robbins he’s trying to “learn as much as I can watching from the sidelines,” and while he won’t participate in any activities, plans to be at practices and games to be with the team and soak up as much as he can over the stretch run.