Markelle Fultz was introduced today as an Orlando Magic player.
I know you’re probably done with the Fultz thing, and I am, too, but this is the first time we’ve heard from him since November 6th, when he told us he was feeling good and didn’t have any kind of issue that was keeping him off the court.
President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman started the press conference with a shout out to Markelle’s mother, Ebony, his sister, and his agent, Raymond Brothers.
From the Q/A session of the presser, which also featured head coach Steve Clifford:
- initial reaction, Markelle says he was excited, says he was doing rehab when he found out about the trade, thanked God for another opportunity, felt it was perfect for him and his family to get a fresh start
- RE: his shoulder and health status: “Rehab is going great. Like I said, we’re focused on doing stuff the right way and I have a great group in Los Angeles and the staff here is going to be coming out to help me with that. But right now everything’s going perfectly well. It’s good.”
- He was asked about a time frame for return and didn’t give one.
Markelle did give an interesting answer to an innocuous question about knowing some of the Orlando players, which led him to talk about the coaching staff:
“…Another thing I’m big on is just the relationships and everything like that. I heard a lot about coach, not only from players that played here, but a lot of players across the league that I’m really close to. I think it just excites me to know that I have coaches that are going to push you to be better and not just gonna tell you what you want to hear. So from that aspect that made me even more excited.”
I mean, it’s totally possible that he’s not even shading the Sixers here, and that the response just came out sounding that way. But he’s leaving himself open to interpretation, which doesn’t help him at all. People are going to see that comment and think he’s taking a shot at Brett Brown and his staff.
If that’s the case, it’s a head-scratcher, considering the fact that Brett made Markelle a starter when he didn’t even earn the gig. He got more than enough opportunities to be successful in Philadelphia and he had more than enough support here. I’d say the coaches, fans, and media all went incredibly easy on him. Maybe we all should have been assholes instead?
Here’s the full audio. Pull the volume up and tell me what you think:
More after the jump:
- Markelle was asked if he lost confidence in Philadelphia, to which he quickly replied, “no.” He says he was trying to play through an injury and is working to be back and healthy.
- Weltman says the Magic “did as much intel” as they could on the shoulder injury and exchanged medical records, but felt it was an “obvious choice” to pursue Fultz when they found it to be a “viable option.”
- Fultz on receiving a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome diagnosis: “What I have, TOS, is really hard to diagnose. A lot of people don’t realize that, but there are a couple of players that actually had it before me. I never let anything hold me down, I know there will be good days and bad days… I knew I had something and it was just about figuring it out.. we knew what was going on and it was a matter about finding it out.”
- On a change of scenery, Markelle said it can “help him a lot”
- He also shouted out his mom, sister, and agent in supporting him through the TOS diagnosis (the issue, of course, is that people believe Markelle doesn’t have the right people around him, so they roll their eyes when he mentions them).
- Clifford sees him as a dynamic two-way player, a guy who can excel in every area of the game.
- Fultz said the injury is hard to describe, but that it feels like it’s hard to lift up his arms and that he sometimes loses feeling in his fingers. “You can’t tell when it’s going to happen. It’s not like you do the same motion every time, but you get tingling in your fingers, numbness, it’s just little stuff.”
- He also didn’t put a timeline on when he’d be able to start shooting again. He’s going to rehab in LA while Orlando will send some staffers out there to work with him.
If for some reason you wanna watch the entire press conference, it’s here: