Sportress of Blogitude

Elton Brand downplays rumors, says Markelle Fultz’s health is ‘sole focus’

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand weighed in on the Markelle Fultz drama Wednesday, saying the team is only focused on the second-year guard’s health at this point. Anything else, Brand says, is “just noise.”

Fultz’s season-plus with the 76ers since being taken the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has been a perplexing disappointment. The beleaguered 20-year-old is presently away from the team to have his troublesome shoulder examined, a process that was extended into Wednesday, per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

League sources reportedly have indicated no decisions will be made on Fultz’s future until later in the week at the earliest. Meanwhile, Sixers head coach Brett Brown on Tuesday denied that Fultz is on the trading block, calling the reports“inaccurate.”

The Athletic reported last week also indicated Fultz is dealing with a wrist injury on top of his shoulder issue. It is also mentioned in the report that Fultz may “prefer a fresh start with a new team,” even if he appears to have the support of his teammates.

Fultz is not expected to practice or play in any games with the Sixers until the shoulder issue — and perhaps the wrist injury as well — is resolved. The notion that injuries are causing Fultz’s continued and confounding shooting woes arguably would be a welcome one.

Brand’s comments Wednesday seem to indicate the 76ers are approaching the situation either way with caution.

“Our sole focus with Markelle right now is his health,” Brand said Wednesday, per a tweet from The Athletic’s Michael Lee. “We hope to know more in the coming days, but the priority is helping him. Anything else you may see or hear out there is just noise.”

The case can be made that Brand’s comments Wednesday are what to be expected given the situation. Whether or not the Sixers are contemplating a trade, getting a healthy Fultz back on the court is the top priority, regardless of how things ultimately play out.