Early this season, Philadelphia was giving Markelle Fultz every chance. He was starting, he was getting the ball in his hands with the second unit, and he was getting more minutes than his play warranted because the Sixers were trying to make it work. The guy who lost out with that was fan favorite T.J. McConnell. The hustling backup point guard saw his run decrease, missing six games and playing fewer than 10 minutes in seven others.
The Jimmy Butler trade changed the Sixers focus — they are about winning now. Markelle Fultz is not with the team, he’s seeing a specialist in New York. The beneficiary of all that? McConnell, who has found himself back in the middle of the rotation the past few games.
That means he’s off the trade market, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
In recent weeks, the Sixers stopped listening to trade overtures for McConnell, sources said, a reflection of the fact that the organization knows it will be leaning more heavily on him now. McConnell can be a free agent this summer.
McConnell, and even more so rookie guard Landry Shamet, provide some of the outside shooting the Sixers need with this rotation. Philly needs floor spacing and Fultz simply does not give the team that. Which is why, despite everyone saying otherwise publicly, he is on his way out as a Sixer. It’s best for everyone.
And especially good for McConnell, who wants to get on the court and earn that next contract.