Another chapter of the Jimmy Butler saga is underway as ESPN reported Friday that the Philadelphia 76ers All-star is challenging coaches on his place in the offense and complicating the teams’ relationships.
Butler’s vocal role was described in two separate ways by ESPN: “disrespectful” but also “within the confines of the relationship.” And his chemistry with “Big 3” teammates Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been slow to come around, according to ESPN’s league sources.
Vocal Butler perceived various ways
ESPN reported different outlooks on Butler’s remarks to head coach Brett Brown depending on who was relaying the information.
Butler has been vocal in his contesting of Brown and his system, including a recent film session in Portland that some witnesses considered “disrespectful” and beyond normal player-coach discourse.
Brown has told people within the organization that he had no issues with that exchange and considered it within the confines of the relationship that he’s developed with Butler, sources said.
A source close to Butler told ESPN the player’s intense, direct style can come off as combative. Butler has voiced his want to be in more traditional pick-and-roll and isolation sets, according to ESPN. The league sources told the site that Butler has met privately with Brown and the coaching staff, plus general manager Elton Brand, to sort it out.
The 76ers Big 3
Butler was traded to Philadelphia by the Minnesota Timberwolves in mid-November and joined duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Three large personalities means a clashing of heads sometimes, as fans witnessed during a heated victory Monday night when Embiid took an elbow from Simmons.
Brown referenced “coming together” and growing as a team after the game.
“You don’t just click your heels and throw Jimmy Butler in and everybody’s going to be playing the same way and style,” he said. “It [doesn’t] work like that. So my job is to grow a team. Ben and Jo, Jo and Jimmy, go anywhere you want. Those four are huge. Playing together is what’s always, by a long shot, on my mind.”
The Sixers are 25-14 and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Embiid leads the team with 26.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Simmons leads the team in assists at 7.9 along with 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Butler, who can become a free agent this summer, averages 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
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