The acquisition of Jimmy Butler has undeniably strengthened the Philadelphia 76ers’ chance of fully dominating the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, Butler’s insertion to the Sixers’ roster didn’t go as smoothly as most people think as rising superstars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were forced to make a huge adjustment with their game. Also, recently, Butler had a dispute with Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown, who he aggressively challenged regarding his role on the offensive end of the floor.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Jimmy Butler’s problems with the Sixers system are real. If Coach Brett Brown won’t change his offensive strategy, Butler may consider leaving the Sixers for teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July.
“Butler could prefer to sign with a team that plays his style, ranking closer to the top of the NBA in both pick-and-roll and isolation frequency, like the Clippers or Nets. Butler is right, though: In an ideal world, the Sixers should run more pick-and-roll and isolate to attack mismatches. One big problem: It’d require Simmons to sacrifice touches and adapt by setting more on-ball screens and improving as a shooter. Simmons either hasn’t shown the willingness or the team hasn’t asked him to set on-ball screens regularly.”
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) January 8, 2019
The Sixers are the only team that can offer Jimmy Butler a five-year, $190 million contract next summer, while teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets can give him a four-year, $140 million deal. Though he can earn more money by staying in Philadephia, Butler will surely choose to sign with a team that he’s comfortable with the system.
Several NBA teams have tried to take advantage of the ongoing drama between Jimmy Butler and the Sixers. According to Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report, when the heated exchange between Butler and Coach Brett Brown became public, an opposing team called the Sixers, asking them if the All-Star forward might be available on the market before the February NBA trade deadline. However, the Sixers reportedly had never considered dealing Butler, and it is highly likely that he will finish the 2018-19 NBA season in Philadelphia.
Both Jimmy Butler and Coach Brett Brown had downplayed the issue between them. Though some witnesses described Butler’s actions as “disrespectful, Brown doesn’t think that Butler crossed the line and only wanted himself to be heard. Butler denied that what he did was confrontational and said that it was just a simple coach to a player talk.