NBA Rumors: Philadelphia 76ers Still Hopeful They Could Re-Sign Jimmy Butler, Per Zach Lowe

Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks at his bench during their game against the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 27, 2018 in Salt Lake City , Utah.
Chris Gardner / Getty Images

Despite the fact that recent rumors have suggested that Jimmy Butler isn’t getting along well with Philadelphia 76ers Brett Brown — just weeks after the team traded for him — a new report from ESPN‘s Zach Lowe suggests that the 76ers are still optimistic regarding their chances of re-signing the 29-year-old All-Star guard and forward in the coming offseason.

In a report published Wednesday night, Lowe took a look at how the Sixers often appear to be edging toward a state of disharmony, despite having a formidable unit led by Butler — and young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Citing an example of the issues Philadelphia is currently dealing with, Lowe mentioned how the media often calls for Simmons to be traded after the Sixers lose an important game, on account of his lack of an outside shot and incompatibility with Embiid.

As for Butler, Lowe cited Brown’s observation that the former Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls star often “doesn’t get the touches he needs,” and opined that he isn’t the ideal “third wheel” for the Sixers’ “big three.” He noted that big men, such as Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat — when he played alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — are usually best as third offensive options in a three-superstar lineup. They “don’t initiate possessions,” and normally score off the pick-and-roll after setting screens for the first or second offensive option.

With all of these issues in mind, amongst others discussed in his article, Lowe’s mention of the Philadelphia 76ers hoping to re-sign Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2019 almost came in passing. He did, however, clarify some of the rumors of Butler clashing with Brown, noting that Butler only raised an objection during a recent film session when the coach asked if anyone “wanted to add something” to the discussion, and did so while also bringing up backup point guard T.J. McConnell’s own concerns.

“When you ask the team, ‘What do you see?’ you’d better be prepared to listen,” said Brown.

“I’m okay with it. I have to be. I am the instigator.”

According to Bleacher Report, that wasn’t the only time where Brett Brown denied rumors that Butler was “aggressive” in making his point — and in questioning his role in the Sixers’ offense. As quoted by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters, Brown described the alleged altercation as “two people talking,” and said that challenging someone about something doesn’t automatically make things disrespectful.

In 23 games with the Philadelphia 76ers, Jimmy Butler has averaged 18.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game and, per Basketball-Reference, is tied for second in scoring with veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick as of this writing. The Sixers have gone 16-7 since trading for Butler, and are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 27-15 record. As noted by Bleacher Report, the team appears to be willing to see if the threesome of Butler, Embiid, and Simmons could help them become a “long-term contender” in the East.