“I have given no indication to Elton Brand or anyone else that Markelle would prefer to be traded,” Brothers told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “My focus is to get Markelle healthy. End of story.”
Brothers has scheduled Fultz to see specialists in New York next week to look at his right shoulder. Until he does, Fultz will not practice or play in games.
Sixers management has been in contact with Brothers to discuss potential next steps, sources said. Fultz was on the bench in street clothes Wednesday night for Philadelphia’s 121-120 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at Wells Fargo Center, the team’s fourth straight win and fifth in its past six games.
After the game, when asked about a report that Fultz would prefer a fresh start elsewhere, 76ers coach Brett Brown said, “It would be irresponsible and reckless for me to even comment on it. I won’t until I learn more.”
Trading for Jimmy Butler last week removed any possible pretense that Philadelphia was in anything but win-now mode, making it even more difficult for Philadelphia to try to balance developing Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, with winning games now.
Fultz went from being in the starting lineup before the trade to being dropped from it in place of JJ Redick after it. Then, after playing seven minutes in the first half of Monday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, Fultz was benched in the second half in favor of T.J. McConnell.
After that game, Brown wouldn’t commit to either Fultz or McConnell as his backup point guard moving forward. On Tuesday morning, Brothers informed Brand that Fultz would not play until he could see specialists next week.
“There’s nothing we saw medically that didn’t allow him to play,” Brand told reporters after the team practiced at its Camden, New Jersey, facility Tuesday afternoon. “He played last night. He played two days ago.
“Ever since Jimmy Butler came [last week] and [Fultz] wasn’t starting, I thought he played pretty well. I was proud of him the way he bounced back from a lot of things.”