Jimmy Butler might already be causing problems in the City of Brotherly Love.
Butler has been with the Philadelphia 76ers for less than two months. He’s played in just 21 games with the team since being acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12. Yet the four-time NBA All-Star has aggressively challenged Sixers coach Brett Brown about his role in Philadelphia’s offense, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
This drama reportedly is complicating an already tenuous chemistry among Philadelphia’s star trio of Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. And Butler’s shaky transition to life with the Sixers is causing some concern about his long-term fit with the organization, league sources told ESPN.
Butler’s vocal challenging of Brown reportedly includes a recent film session that some witnesses considered “disrespectful” and beyond normal player-coach discourse. Brown reportedly downplayed the exchange to others in the organization, though, and a source close to Butler acknowledged to ESPN that the 29-year-old’s intense, direct style can come off as combative.
Butler, who had an unceremonious exit from Minnesota, is set to become a free agent this summer. The Sixers’ preference has been to re-sign Butler to a contract extension, according to ESPN, but it’s fair to wonder whether the sides will be able to work things out moving forward.
Butler spent his first six seasons with the Chicago Bulls before being traded to the T-Wolves during the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s averaging 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game split between Minnesota and Philadelphia this season.
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