The Latest On Markelle Fultz

It’s unclear how long it will be until Markelle Fultz suits up in a game for the Sixers. Earlier today, it was reported that Fultz would see a specialist for his shoulder and the former No. 1 pick would not play until that happens.

Philadelphia didn’t have a formal practice on Tuesday, but Fultz participated in some light shooting, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The participation came after Fultz’ agent and attorney, Raymond Brothers, delivered the news of the outside appointment to GM Elton Brand earlier in the day. Brand seemed a bit surprised by Fultz’s need to seek an additional medical opinion.

Prior to Fultz working out, Brand told reporters, including Pompey (video link), that the team isn’t pushing Fultz hard as the second-year guard looks to recover. He did add that there was nothing the Sixers “saw medically that didn’t allow him to play.”

Fultz’s appointment with the specialist will come on Monday, according to Brand (video link via Pompey). Brand was told by Brothers that Monday was the earliest they could get an appointment. It’s not typical that a player’s agent would establish the parameters for a player’s absence.

Fultz has the right, under the CBA, to seek an opinion on an injury from a non-team doctor, and Sports Illustrated’s law expert Michael McCann wonders if the Fitness-to-Play Panel portion of the CBA might eventually come into play here. That article, which is the same that Chris Bosh invoked as he fought with the Heat about his blood clotting issues, instructs independent physicians to address disputes over players’ health conditions.

McCann admits that it’s too early in the process to suggest this kind of a panel is forthcoming. He also notes that NBA.com’s David Aldridge specifically used the wording “at the direction of his attorney” when he reported the news that Fultz would miss time, something which could ostensibly signal that Fultz’s camp is preparing for the day where the law enters this unique situation.

Tiptoe down the branches on  the tree of speculation and you can find scenarios in which legalities could come into play. Perhaps Fultz’s camp has reason to believe the Sixers will view his upcoming absence as unauthorized or maybe Fultz could also have concerns about how the team will depict his situation in the media while he’s away.

It’s unclear whether Fultz sought medical treatment from team doctors for his latest concerns but if he did, perhaps he was unhappy with the treatment. McCann notes that if Fultz found the medical care to be substandard, he may have grounds for legal action.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Fultz suffered the shoulder injury while in a motorcycle accident sometime in 2017. If the speculation is true and it happened after the former No. 1 pick officially inked his deal, the Sixers would have a path to suspend him or void his contract, McCann writes. NBA players are not allowed to drive or ride motorcycles or mopeds of any kind without consent from the team (s/o Monta Ellis).

Fultz is still on his rookie contract, a deal that pays him a guaranteed salary of roughly $8.3MM this season and $9.7MM next year. The Sixers hold a team option for the 2020/21 campaign worth approximately $12.3MM. The deal isn’t near an albatross by NBA standards and the Sixers are void of mid-level salaries for trade purposes, so I’d speculate that the situation never gets to the point where Philadelphia’s front office looks to legally get out from Fultz’s deal.

Coach Brett Brown touched on Fultz’s situation, calling the latest update “real red-flag type news,” Pompey relays in a separate tweet. Brown also said he believes Fultz is having a “good year,” adding that the team supports the point guard as he looks to get healthy.

Fultz was moved to the bench once Jimmy Butler made his debut. During the first three games of Butler’s tenure, Fultz played slightly over 18 minutes per game off the pine. Yet, on Monday against the Suns, Fultz saw just seven minutes of action after Brown decided to give T.J. McConnell those backup minutes instead.

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28 thoughts on “The Latest On Markelle Fultz

  1. Fultz’s problems aren’t physical. He needs a psychologist, not a specialist.

    • DarkGhost

      I think it started out physical and became mental. Maybe it’s a combination of both but it’s defiantly in his head at this point.

  2. x%sure

    Sixrs have been patient with him, he should respect that. But then, the Spurs were good to Kawhi, and that did not help.

  3. I worry that he might be badly represented/adviced, you know you can’t trust the advice of a lawyer, out there only for their own interest. Not a great idea to have an agent that is your lawyer too. Really worry that it will ruin his career.

    • jnastasi15

      I’m gonna go with the fact that the kid just isn’t that good and never really was. That’s what is going to ruin his career.

      • Z-A

        No he was that good. He was on everyone’s list as #1 overall. At the time the Cs had IT4 and Rozier. There wasn’t a definitive need for another PG.

    • ac106

      Pretty much every single agent is a lawyer! Who else would like to review contract law? A plumber?

  4. stug14

    Every one of these reports makes Danny Ainge even smarter for making that trade.

    • Z-A

      Not wrong. But it’s more Coleangelo being a bad GM than Ainge being smart. But how many times can one guy get lucky to answer the phone from the dumbest GM at the time? This is 2x, 3rd time’s the charm – I’m guessing it’ll be Vlade next.

      • i hate my father

        Vlade already gave the 2019 1st round pick for one season of Rondo. The good news, that 1st round draft pick might not be as valuable as once thought. Besides some stupid moves Vlade has made, he somehow has the Kings going in the right direction for once.

  5. greg1

    Yes and no on the Danny thing, he was taking Tatum regardless of whether it was at 1 or 3. This is more about the Sixers management not doing enough homework to know that was the case, and not panicking with that deal.

    The answer on Fultz is yes to all the above. He was not as good as advertised, he did injure himself (sounds like outside of basketball), did not have either the skill to continue to contribute without his shot, or the mental acumen to deal with it.

    He’s starting to slide towards all time bust, and his inability to cope and his poor management team is not doing anything to slow it down and reverse it.

    • stug14

      Danny having the ability to recognize that he could get the player he wanted and fleece the Sixers is what’s noteworthy, more so than the trade itself.

  6. Z-A

    Clearly we drafted the wrong huskie we should have drafted Kelsey Plum. I would take her over this kid any day.

  7. Tmandolfan

    “If Fultz found the medical care to be substandard, he may have grounds for legal action”
    1) Fultz is a 20 year old kid and he wasn’t drafted out of medical school. Other than using a band aid I doubt he has enough medical knowledge to know his own ass from a hole in the ground let alone go to court and argue his care has been substandard.
    2) whereas the Sixers have invested literally millions in him and would give anything to make him as healthy as possible and any thought otherwise is completely counterintuitive.

    All of that aside, how about that Bryan Colangelo huh? Twice he had the first overall pick and he chose Bagnani and Fultz. Now, he’ll probably never get another GM job but, wow, what a legacy.

    • TheMilkman

      This is not medical. Mr. Softie has hurt feelings. Hiding under his hoodie. Mr. Softie knows he cannot keep up with NBA players, so his shoulder hurts. Boo hoo! They don’t need him or his juvenile BS. Let him rot. They patronized the crap out of this kid. Coddled him. They helped create this monster. Now, they need to buy him a binkie and let him suck on it!

  8. Dionis

    Fultz is going to come back and blow Curry and Kemba’s 3’s totals away.

  9. I really hope he does have a serious shoulder injury, just so he can hopefully get healthy eventually and improve. His shooting form is so so bad I don’t know how that can be mental. Some type of mental block doesn’t cause bad form, but just bad results. He’s got bad form and bad results. Literally the worst form I’ve seen from a scoring guard in the history of the NBA. How did lead the nation in scoring in college? I can’t even imagine Fultz leading a High School team in scoring these days.

  10. TheMilkman

    There is no injury. It’s all about ego. Anyone watching the last game can see what happened. When TJ McConnell was summoned to enter the game in lieu of Fultz, the fans gave a standing O. The ovation was not meant as a slight against Fultz, although he clearly took it that way, it was meant to applaud McConnell for his class and exemplary attitude while sitting 10 games in a row. In other words, the anti-fultz! The kid is a spoiled brat who cannot back it up. He should go sit in a corner and suck his thumb until his contract ends. The Sixers need to accept it and move on.

  11. greg1

    Anyone see that double clutch on the free throw??? It’s mental more than physical.

    • TheMilkman

      Correct. But worse than any case of the yips or horrible slump, Mr. Softie wilted when confronted by competition for playing time. Slumps and yips can be cured. However, a boy with no heart who runs to his binkie instead of fighting is a lost cause. Mr. Softie is a lost cause. He will forever tease the believers with his flashes of competency, but he is a loser. A loser defined by his tendency to wilt and hide in his hoodie instead of standing tall and fighting.

  12. stevep-4

    If he sat on a motorcycle, he is an idiot millionaire. Anyone have any updates on what Jay Williams is doing these days?

    I would like to say Fultz is yet another reason drafting teenagers into the NBA is a mistake but Wendell Carter Jr. counters that argument on every play.

  13. Z-A

    He is 100% scared of playing. I am of the firm belief that he only played until they picked up his option. 3 years 25M. Not a bad scam.

  14. Z-A

    League needs to change the rookie salary structure. And change the date to the trade deadline for picking up options. Korkmaz would prob get picked up.

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