Brett Brown regrets failing to make it work with Jimmy Butler, Sixers

When Jimmy Butler bolted for the Miami Heat after just 55 games played with the Philadelphia 76ers, it left some questions that needed to be answered.

After coming so close to making the Eastern Conference finals with the Sixers, why not run it back with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? Especially, when considering it took a miracle shot from Kawhi Leonard in Game 7 just for them to be eliminated in that series?

A lot was pointed to Butler’s icy relationship with then-coach Brett Brown. Butler even sat down with JJ Redick on his podcast and discussed some issues that bothered him about Brown and how he ran things during his time in Philadelphia.

Brown, now an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, sat down with “The Rights to Ricky Sanchez” podcast and he discussed his time with the Sixers and how tough it was to adjust after being fired as well as his regret with Butler and the Sixers:

Extraordinarily difficult. Really, really hard. My ego—we all go back to like our personalities—that DNA, what what makes us go. I love competition. I love a team. I love that environment of a team. I always said that I’d rather be a (expletive) coach than a (expletive) leader and I ended up not being the leader, if I’m truthful, that I needed to be trying to connect the dots with Jimmy and Ben and Joel, it still haunts me. And so when you have some things like that swirling around and you know, as I said it’s truthful, you like almost pull over, it’s on your shoulders so much and you say well, you know, you had back to back 50 win seasons the first time in 30 years, you lost in the in the Eastern Conference semifinals with the ball hovering on the rim four times.

The Butler era was short-lived in Philadelphia, but he had a terrific playoff run. He averaged 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in the 2019 playoffs with the Sixers, but he clearly did not get along with Brown. He let the Sixers know he did not like their decisions including choosing Tobias Harris over him after his Heat eliminated Philadelphia in the 2022 playoffs.

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