After teasing for months that the reason he didn’t re-sign with the Sixers would come out, Jimmy Butler didn’t hold back on JJ Redick’s podcast.
Butler, who left via a sign-and-trade with the Heat this past summer, sipped on wine with his former teammate as the two discussed a variety of topics.
The most interesting was Butler's time with the Sixers and why it didn't work out. The biggest factor for Butler’s departure seemed to be a rocky relationship with Brett Brown.
Hell yeah it was difficult,” Butler said of last season. “It was so different. On any given day, me as a person, as a player, I didn’t know who the f--- was in charge. I think that was the biggest thing. I didn’t know what the f--- to expect whenever I’d go into the gym, whenever I’m going to the game. … I think I was lost as the next motherf---er.
Butler forced a trade out of Minnesota that landed him in Philadelphia. The offensive fit was clunky from the start and was never truly resolved. Butler described a meeting early on with Brown, Redick, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons that set a bad tone for Butler’s tenure.
“And that f---ing meeting,” Butler said to Redick.
“We’re all sitting in there and nothing got accomplished at all. I told you this as I walked: ‘JJ, why would I ever go back in there again?’ Nothing is getting accomplished. Nobody’s saying nothing to anybody and we’re just sitting in here watching film and you can literally hear the thing just clicking, and we’re all just looking around.”
That’s what led to the infamous film session in Portland last season where Butler reportedly “aggressively challenged” Brown. Turns out, that meeting wasn’t nearly as confrontational as it was portrayed. Both former Sixers said it was a normal team conversation about pick-and-rolls.
As Redick talked about his relationship with Brown — which he’s mentioned as being great — Butler continued to go in on his former coach.
During the playoff series against the Raptors, Brown made Butler the team’s primary ball handler instead of Simmons. It apparently didn’t sit well with Butler, who’s flourished with the ball in his hands in Miami and at other stops, that the offense had changed so drastically.
“I would say [his relationship with Brown] was professional, but to this day, I don’t think that was fair to switch over like that,” Butler said. “Even though we played great basketball like that, I don’t think it was fair because the entire year, Ben had the ball. So you mean to tell me, in one playoff series, you just switch it up like that? I would be — like [Simmons] was — I would feel a type of way. I would think that it’s f---ed up to play one way the entire year and then be like, ‘You know what, boom, this is how we’re going to do it.’”
But what happened between Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 shot and Butler being sent to Miami?
The details are a little unclear, but it seemed like Butler didn’t like what was said to him when discussions of him returning to Philly occured.
A main reason I didn’t go back was because somebody asked, ‘Can you control him?’ Like, ‘Can you control Jimmy? Because if you can control Jimmy, we would think about having him back.’ I was like, you don’t got to worry about it. S---, ain’t nobody f---ing control me. For one, I ain’t just out there doing no bulls---, but the fact that you’re trying to control a grown man, … nah, I’m cool. Because I don’t do anything that’s just drastically f---ing stupidly crazy. I do not do that. So don’t come at me with the, ‘let me try and control him.’ You good. Don’t even worry about it. … If that’s what y’all are worried about, then good luck to y’all.
Butler didn’t reveal who this conversation was with and who asked if they could “control him.”
With 18 games left for the Sixers in the regular season, they currently sit in sixth and just a half a game behind the Pacers for fifth. If they were to get into the fifth or fourth position, there’s a strong chance they’d take on the Heat in the first round.
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