Elton Brand and Brett Brown spoke for about 30 combined minutes this afternoon, confirming David Aldridge’s report that Markelle Fultz will temporarily leave the squad to see a shoulder specialist in New York City.

This comes at the advice of Markelle’s agent, Raymond Brothers, and it came as a surprise to the general manager and head coach this morning.

I think the easiest way to do this is to go straight through the audio and I’ll give you some full quotes and some half quotes focusing on the most relevant information. There were some non-Fultz questions during the availability, so I cut those out.

Starting from the top with Elton Brand:

What is the organization’s understanding of the situation?

I spoke to Raymond Brothers this morning and he stated that he, his recommendation was for Markelle to see a doctor in New York for a consultation. He will not practice or play in a game until he does that. I said, ‘okay, when is that?’ He said it was Monday. Then we got off the phone.

Raymond Brothers brought this to you? This was not something you had discussed internally this week?

Yes, this was brought to me by Markelle’s agent this morning. We’ve been aligned, we’ve allowed Markelle to see many specialists as per our recommendation and Raymond’s recommendation. Raymond’s job is different than my job. Raymond’s job is to do what he thinks is best for his client. My job is to continue our positive trend and try to get deeper into the playoffs. So I think at the end of the day, we all want to support Markelle. We all want what’s best for Markelle.

Have you spoken to Markelle?

I haven’t but coach has. Today.

Is there something wrong with his shoulder?

That’s what the consultations have been about, that’s why the specialists that have been involved. We’ll continue to explore it and if that’s what he wants, that’s what we’ll do.

Is there something you have seen or the medical staff has seen to indicate a problem?

We thought it was the regular bumps and bruises, going to China, having the most back-to-backs in the league and playing an aggressive schedule. You ask him, he says publicly on the record – we didn’t push him or say, ‘you have to say this’ – he said he feels good. There’s nothing that we saw medically that didn’t allow him to play. He played last night, he played two nights ago. Ever since Jimmy Butler came and he wasn’t starting, I felt like he played pretty well. I was proud of him and the way he bounced back from a lot of things.

Will he still be around the team?

Good question; usually I like to have someone who is getting treatment, or someone who is going to be out for a while – and I don’t know how long he’s going to be out, Monday is the consultation – (inaudible), I thought they might move it up, but Monday is the appointment. After that we’ll know more, but I’d like to have him around. Absolutely, you want to be want to be around your teammates, you want to be around your coaches, you don’t want to be alienated or by yourself at any time when you’re going through something, injury or not.

Has he sought a specialist since we were told that the scapular problem had been resolved last season?

In the last year, yes, he’s seen a specialist per Raymond’s recommendation. I don’t know how much I can talk about it, but yes he has seen a specialist.

You picked up his option recently. If it’s revealed that he had a previous shoulder injury, can that option be voided?

I don’t want to look too far into that future. Let’s just wait till Monday and see what’s going on, then we can discuss something like that. I’m gonna keep going back to we just want what’s best for him. We’ll see there, I don’t want to put that out there.

Do you find the timing odd considering that TJ was the second unit point guard last night? 

Whatever Markelle wants at this time, his timing, it is what it is. I can’t say there’s a direct correlation and I don’t want to speculate. But I got the call this morning and let coach Brown know and let my staff know.

You guys have trainers, doctors… protocol is to say something to you, is this the first time you’re hearing about him having shoulder injury via agent?

Yeah no, I’ve been aware that he’s spoken to our athlete care about different ailments at different times. That’s in our collective bargaining agreement, that you can get 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions, as many as you want. We support that and encourage that, if that’s what any of our players feel they need.

When do you expect to see him play again? 

I don’t know what to expect. He played last night and a few nights ago. Like I said, I think he was playing pretty well. I guess after Monday we can figure out his plan and be more clear about his plan.

What’s your understanding of how the original scapular muscle imbalance came to be? Was there something specific Markelle did to his shoulder? Any identifiable time during the summer or after that?

Yeah I’m not too aware of what that was at the time. I was in the G League. When they brought me up to speed on our medical, I feel our medical staff and our athlete care had a pretty good handle on that and he’s seen several specialists like I said, over the last year.

Will the affect or change the way you approach your roster construction moving forward in terms of looking at external options, whether to fill that last roster spot, or any other roster spot?

Yeah, again, we’ll see after the agent-recommended consultation. We’ll see where it goes in maybe a week and we’ll see how he feels and what’s going on with it. But I’m sure that T.J. is going to play a lot more minutes, and he’s prepared and he’s always been prepared. I’m really glad that we have a player like T.J. in the fold to be ready to step up like I’m sure that he will.

Did Raymond give you any indication, speaking of T.J. last night specifically, that that had any impact on this decision and the timing of what happened?

That was the first discussion was what was going on. I had a follow-up conversation, and we did speak a little bit about on-court stuff but I was focused on the medical right now, I said let’s just focus on the medical and how we can support Markelle.

The David Aldridge report phrased Raymond as his attorney not his agent, do you have any idea why it was phrased that way?

I’m not sure, maybe it has to do with fees or something, I don’t know. Agent fees? Attorney fees? I’m not sure.

Do we know the identity of the doctor? Is it an orthopaedic doctor? A pain science doctor? Do you know who the doctor is?

We do know the doctor, I just found out this morning, so I don’t know the name off hand. I know that it’s in New York City.

It is a shoulder specialist?

It is a specialist.

With his new timing mechanism on his free throw form, did that have something to do with his shoulder? He’s been changing his form, pumping or playing with the ball at the line, have you gotten any indication that it was to compensate for any shoulder pain?

I haven’t. But as an ex-player I just think he was trying to figure out ways to put the ball in the basket and he’s worked hard all along. Like all summer he’s worked hard and tirelessly and he’s trying to figure out ways to be the best player he can be and I think this is an attempt by his and his agent to do that so we support that.

Did he say that it had been bothering him? Was there any specific conversation about the shoulder?

Yeah. I’m sure there was. And, about other things too like hand, knee, a lot of things that a lot of the other players that are playing 20 minutes a game complain about or get treatment for.

Do you see any benefit to having your medical staff maybe explain in fuller detail or write something out to explain to the fans and media exactly what they see? Obviously it’s not feasible to have them come up here and talk to us, but is there another way to approach it? 

It’s a thought. But what we are doing is putting together a detailed report to send to the consultation. We’re sending that to New York and everything that we’ve found and discovered over the last year and a half, specialists that we’ve recommended, specialist that his attorney, his representation recommended, and we’re sending all that information up so that we can be clear on the steps that we took to see what was going on.

Brett Brown

Brown spoke about 10 minutes after Brand.

Your reaction?

We all just learned about it this morning, and like anything, you have concern for him. And I spoke to him with his awareness of what information was put out and did he agree with all of that, and he did. And so, we’ll help him. That’s really the bottom line for me, is trying to find a way to help him.

Any indication that it was connected to playing TJ last night, then leaving point guard question open after the game?

I didn’t get into that with Markelle at all. It would be not fair for me to speculate on any of that. I hear the question. But in relation to any other comments that I would feel responsible making, I really don’t have any. I don’t want to speculate on the timing of that.

Were there any indications that something was wrong with his shoulder? 

I mean, really, it’s kind of the first real sort of red-flag-type news. I played him 20-something minutes four days ago and I thought he played OK. In fact, I thought he did well. I think he’s having a good year. You know, it’s one of those things last night. The gym was flat. We needed some energy. And I went with TJ. You all know what I know. That’s what he does. It’s an injection. It wasn’t even a result of anything Markelle did. We just needed a jolt and he gave it to us, as none of us would be surprised to see him do. And so this news about his shoulder, it did catch me off guard. But if it’s that real that he needs to go seek further sort of consultation, then we support him. In my eyes, it’s not complicated. Like, that’s what it is and we’ll support him.

To be clear, it was communicated to you from the medical staff that Markelle was 100% healed from his scapular imbalance? There were no lingering issues?

It was my understanding. Yes, it was. We’ve all together gone through this with Markelle and Markelle with us. It was my understanding that it was pointing in the right direction, that it was good. I was playing him. He’s lifting weights. Like, it’s all good. And so this situation has come up and we’ll deal with it.

Are you concerned that Markelle might have to win back the trust of the guys in the locker room?

I don’t believe so, and I too hear that question. I don’t believe so. I think if you just looked at our bench and you see him on the bench or you see TJ on the bench and you see the reaction of his teammates to Markelle when he does something on the court that deserves some type of praise, they make an additional effort to do that. I do not believe something like this warrants…because we are all kind of speculating. I get the dots that you are asking about trying to connect, I understand that, but I don’t believe that so. I think that his stock and trust within the existing team is strong. Like, it’s strong. I don’t believe so.

Will Markelle be around the team? 

II just learned about this a few hours ago, and I went up and spoke to Markelle and as I said earlier and spoke to him about it, as far as the detail of it, nothing’s going to change. He’s going to be with us and he’ll I guess be put on hold until he feels comfortable that the news from the specialist gives him the information that is good for him and for his future moving forward, but it doesn’t impact anything to do with the team stuff. It does impact according to what came out this morning from his representation, practicing and playing.

Is this the modern day reality of the agent dictating 2nd and 3rd opinions?

We can all point to, it’s in the collective bargaining agreement, it’s in the NBA by-laws, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. I think that privilege, that right is being exercised maybe more frequently nowadays, but it is a part of modern NBA basketball and professional sport where an agent is trying to do his job and this is how he has chosen to do it and under the umbrella under us trying to work collectively with everybody to not alienate, to not do anything else besides find a collaborative, fair, transparent plan and path is the objective.

Does any part of you though feel, it seems maybe that he doesn’t trust the organization? That this is something he called you guys on? You guys seem surprised.

I don’t believe so. Everybody sleeps well at night. We know the effort and the care we’ve tried to extend to him, and so does he. He gets there’s a bunch of good people just trying to do the right thing. I don’t believe that. And if it were to happen, it would not be fair, it’s not true. I think that we have people around here that are very capable, competent, and certainly drape a bunch of care around everybody. And he’s a recipient of i think a lot of good people investing time to try to move him forward.

What was his demeanor like talking to you today? Was he bummed out?

He was good. No, he was good. You look at him and he looks at you back and you talk. It wasn’t awkward at all, it was a genuine conversation.

Is there any part of you that thinks it would be easier to help him get right if there was only one voice in his ear, rather than kind of the organization and then the agent, the player’s side of things?

I think there has been for the most part a linear, consistent messaging that his sort of team Markelle — from family to agent to coach to GM — that we’ve all tried to collaborate and point it to an endgame, a clear sort of objective, a clear path. I think for the most part we’ve done this. As I said, I learned about this this morning. I know Elton spoke to everybody, that’s the information that we have to date, as of a few hours ago. As I’ve just shared with everybody here, these are my reactions.

That’s all for now.

I need a nap.