December 26, 2018 / 2:48 AM / in a year

NBA notebook: Agent optimistic about Fultz's status

The 76ers don’t know when Markelle Fultz might be ready to return to action, but Fultz’s agent is optimistic that the second-year guard will play for Philadelphia again this season.

Nov 23, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz (20) during a timeout against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday that Fultz, 20, is seeing improved strength and mobility in his right shoulder.

Earlier this month, after visiting a number of doctors, Fultz was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), which causes compression or irritation of the nerves or blood vessels in the area between the lower neck and upper chest.

Fultz, who played only 14 games in his rookie season due to a right shoulder ailment, has played in 19 games this season, averaging 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 41.9 percent. Last season, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, and he shot 40.5 percent.

—Lakers center JaVale McGee hoped to pick up his second championship ring when Los Angeles met Golden State in a Christmas Day showdown at Oakland, Calif., but he stayed home to recover from pneumonia.

McGee, who played two years for the Warriors and helped them win back-to-back championships, was scheduled to get his 2018 ring prior to the start of Tuesday’s game and told Yahoo! Sports that playing on Christmas was a priority.

McGee, who has not played since Dec. 15, missed his fifth game in a row. In 29 games this season, he is averaging 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.

—LeBron James hasn’t always been successful at recruiting other marquee NBA players to join his teams, but the Lakers star says that won’t keep him from trying.

“I’ve always recruited,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview that aired at halftime of the Lakers’ game against the Warriors on ABC. “I’ve been trying to get guys to come play with me since, like, 2007. I’ve got rejected a lot. But I also have not got rejected a lot.”

James’ efforts as a pitchman came under scrutiny last week when he said it would be “amazing” and “incredible” if the Lakers could acquire five-time All-Star Anthony Davis, who is under contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. James said recruiting talent in Los Angeles will be easier than it was in Cleveland.

—Kevin Durant had a message for teams that this holiday season are dreaming up their best pitches to lure him in free agency: “Ain’t nobody can recruit me no more.”

That’s what he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports on the Posted Up podcast. The Golden State star, apparently, wants to see more than just the pretty packaging when he chooses his next team. Durant can opt out of the second year of his two-year, $61.5 million contract and become a free agent after the 2018-19 season.

“I want to dictate the environment that I want to be in,” he said. “You can’t give me the bells and whistles. ... I would rather see what you do on a day-to-day basis.”

—Field Level Media

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