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Sixers’ Markelle Fultz reportedly wants a fresh start

The Athletic also is reporting the 76ers reserve point guard is now dealing with a right wrist injury, in addition to his shoulder troubles.

Sixers guard Markelle Fultz (ripped jeans) sits on the bench during the first quarter of Wednesday's game against New Orleans.
Sixers guard Markelle Fultz (ripped jeans) sits on the bench during the first quarter of Wednesday's game against New Orleans.Read moreElizabeth Robertson / Staff photographer

The Markelle Fultz saga is officially a mess.

The Athletic reported that the 76ers reserve point guard is now dealing with a right wrist injury on top of a right shoulder ailment. According to the report,  sources with knowledge of Fultz's thinking said the second-year player would prefer a fresh start with another NBA team.

But Raymond Brothers, Fultz's agent, denied on ESPN that his client expressed an interest in leaving Philadelphia.

"I have given no indication to Elton Brand or anyone else that Markelle would prefer to be traded," Brothers said. "My focus is to get Markelle healthy. End of the story."

This news comes one day after  Brothers informed the Sixers that Fultz wouldn't practice or play in a game until after he sees a shoulder specialist. That visit is scheduled for Monday.

However, Fultz was on the bench with his teammates during Wednesday night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Wells Fargo Center. He also attended  Wednesday's pregame walk through.

And on Tuesday, he participated in the Sixers' light workout hours after Brothers said he wouldn't practice or play until his Monday visit with a shoulder specialist.

"It's a crazy situation," Sixers center Joel Embiid said. "I thought I went through it my first two years, but this is different. Honestly, I don't know what is going on, and I'm just a player for the 76ers."

Embiid missed his first two seasons due to two right foot surgeries.  The All-Star said he tries to help Fultz and added it's a tough situation for his teammate.

"Last year I felt like a lot of people didn't have his back and that was with the previous management," Embiid said. "But I feel like everybody has been trying to do their job, helping. I don't even know what's the problem."

He thinks his good friend has done a good job coming off the bench.  The 20-year-old is averaging 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season. He's shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 28.6 on three-pointers.

His impact on games don't always show up in a stat sheet. However, he's had solid analytic numbers for the team.

Yet, the timing of that announcement that he'll see a specialist raises eyebrows.

Markelle Fultz gamelog

It was six days after he lost his starting shooting guard position to JJ Redick and one day after Brown chose to play T.J. McConnell as the backup point guard in the second half against the Phoenix Suns instead of Fultz. Sixers coach Brett Brown wouldn't commit to Fultz remaining as the backup point guard.

He's been criticized on social media and labeled a bust due for his shooting woes. Videos of him double-clutching foul shots against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Nov. 12 went viral on social media.

That's not a good look for someone that came into the league with a lot of promise as the first overall pick in the 2017 draft.

The Sixers moved up two spots and gave the Boston Celtics the Sacramento Kings' 2019 first-round pick in order to select Fultz. But he played a total of just 17 games this past season because of what the Sixers called shoulder soreness. However, multiple sources said he had the "yips."

So far, his teammates have been showing Fultz a lot of support through a tough time.

Wilson Chandler said it can be tough for players dealing with criticism, social media, fans and people heckling them.

"You go home and turn on ESPN and people are talking about you," Chandler said. "You go on social media and people are talking about you. So I think you — and I think the same thing goes the rest of the players — try to just put yourself in his shoes and try to be an outlet for him and not judge him. It can be tough on your mentally.

"You just have to be there for him."

Fultz plans to remain with the team until Monday's appointment.

Asked about The Athletic story, Sixers general manager Elton Brands said, "Seriously, I have not read the story."  He said he didn't want to comment further.

"No one deserves to go through what he's going through," McConnell said. "So all I can do is be there and support him and hold down the fort until he gets back. I'm saying a couple of prayers for him to get through this.

"You know, that's like family to me like I said."