Report: Markelle Fultz Has Wrist Injury; Prefers 76ers Trade for 'Fresh Start'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 12:  Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers in action against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena on November 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Markelle Fultz saga took another turn Wednesday. 

The Athletic's Jared Weiss, Derek Bodner and Sam Amick reported the Philadelphia 76ers point guard has been playing with a wrist injury. According to the report, Fultz "would prefer a fresh start with a new team" as well.

However, Fultz's agent, Raymond Brothers, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski: "I have given no indication to Elton Brand or anyone else that Markelle would prefer to be traded. My focus is to get Markelle healthy. End of story."

Weiss, Bodner and Amick noted Fultz continues to deal with a lingering right shoulder injury and that the more recent wrist problem "has adversely affected his ability to shoot."

Fultz has appeared in 19 games this season, shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range.

Fultz is away from the Sixers as he prepares to have a specialist look at his shoulder next week. The Athletic's David Aldridge reported the move was "at the direction of his attorney."

Comments from Sixers general manager Elton Brand indicated the team wasn't entirely on the same page with Fultz prior to his abrupt departure.

Jon Johnson @jonjohnsonwip

Brand on timing of Fultz seeking outside opinion after being benched last night:"Whatever Markelle wants, his timing, it is what it is."

Jon Johnson @jonjohnsonwip

Brand asked by @NBASarah if there was any indication from Fultz that there was anything wrong with shoulder leading up in, and/or during season: "Something that kept him medically off court, no."

Yaron Weitzman @YaronWeitzman

Elton Brand is being clear that the organization is supportive of Fultz, but he was clearly surprised by the call he got from Fultz's agent this morning

While Fultz doesn't appear to have made an explicit trade demand, his departure from Philadelphia might be inevitable at this point.

He didn't play in the second half of Monday's 119-114 win over the Phoenix Suns, with T.J. McConnell taking over as the backup point guard. After the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown was noncommittal about whether Fultz or McConnell would back up Ben Simmons going forward.

The Sixers clearly had playoff ambitions before Jimmy Butler arrived, but that trade accelerated the team's timeline. Even though Fultz's development remains a priority, Brown is probably more concerned with using his best lineups possible. And that means inserting the more dependable McConnell into the rotation over Fultz.

Getting a clean break from the Sixers would also allow Fultz to potentially move on from whatever problems he's experiencing in Philadelphia.