Jimmy Butler

'Jimmy is my brother' — Joel Embiid laments Butler leaving for Miami

'Jimmy is my brother' — Joel Embiid laments Butler leaving for Miami

If you’re a Sixers fans that misses Jimmy Butler, you’re not alone.

Butler had developed a close bond with Joel Embiid. The duo was perfect on the court in the sense that Embiid consistently got off to hot starts and Butler came up clutch in the fourth quarter.

Off the court, they also developed a strong connection. Embiid mentioned on media day the impact of losing Butler and JJ Redick, another player Embiid grew close to.

“Obviously everybody had a great relationship,” Embiid said. “I'm going to miss those three guys, especially JJ and Jimmy. JJ was my guy. Jimmy is my brother, we still talk a lot. I'm going to miss them a lot. 

“I don't think anything changes. But now we have more time. Last year we had a little time to get to know each other, and it started off rough. And that is my fault, too. I've gotta be a better leader. But this year, we've got a whole year to figure it out."

In an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN's The Jump, Embiid said he would've liked to see Butler return:

Much has been made of who the Sixers’ go-to guy in the fourth quarter will be with Butler gone. Could Tobias Harris be the type of player that can fill that role? Will Ben Simmons, if he’s a equipped with a respectable jump shot, develop a closer-type mentality?

The easy answer — and one that Brett Brown has pointed to — is Embiid. Embiid is the most difficult player to defend on the Sixers because of his size and skill. But it is difficult for post players to fill that role.

That’s why Embiid has been trying to advance his skill set even further.

“This year, I feel like they're going to make everybody shoot the ball,” Embiid said. “Going into the summer, after I found out that I was losing both of them – especially because I also knew these guys were going to need me to take over. You've gotta be more than a post player. You've gotta be able to do other things, because it's easy for other teams to send double teams when you're just posting up, back to the basket. You gotta be able to attack off the dribble, you've gotta be able to shoot off the dribble.”

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2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

2019-20 Sixers schedule: Plenty of reunions await Sixers this season

The NBA schedule is out and it’s ripe with juicy matchups all around the league.

There will be plenty of intriguing games for the Sixers, including their matchups with rival Boston and both L.A. teams, but there are also a few games that will have some sentimentality.

Here are the Sixers’ “reunion” games for the 2019-20 season. (All times listed below are local start times.) 

Jimmy Butler — Sixers vs. Heat, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.

This may be the one return that’s not so ceremonious. There have been conflicting reports about whether the Sixers offered Butler a max deal. In any case, it appears Butler chose South Beach over South Philly. The crowd reaction alone will be fascinating. It’s unlikely either side will offer up much in the pre- and postgame availabilities, but you never know. It’ll also be Josh Richardson’s first chance to “kill” his former team.

T.J. McConnell — Sixers vs. Pacers, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

This may actually get the fan base more excited than any return. McConnell was the ultimate underdog, joining the team as an undrafted free agent and earning an unlikely roster spot every season. The team and McConnell chose to go in different directions as the Sixers brought in veterans Raul Neto and Trey Burke to handle backup point guard duties.

JJ Redick — Sixers vs. Pelicans, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Redick had arguably the best two seasons of his NBA career with the Sixers. The two-man game with Joel Embiid and Redick was lethal. In a way, the Sixers signing Redick was similar to when the Phillies signed Jim Thome. Redick wasn’t the caliber player Thome was, but it symbolized Philadelphia being a destination again. It will also be our first peek at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

Boban Marjanovic — Sixers vs. Mavericks, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.

The Tobi and Bobi Show gets another day in the sun. Marjanovic became a fan favorite pretty much immediately in Philadelphia when he arrived in a trade with his best friend, Tobias Harris. The massive Serbian got a standing ovation the first time he checked into a game at the Wells Fargo Center as a Sixer. I imagine the reception will be quite warm this time around as well.

Robert Covington — Sixers vs. Timberwolves, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Covington was traded last November, but missed both matchups against his former team last season. RoCo was one of the more underappreciated players the Sixers have had because his shooting ran so hot and cold. He should be warmly received this time around. The Butler trade didn’t work out exactly how the team would’ve liked, but it did ultimately net the Sixers Richardson.

Dario Saric — Sixers vs. Suns, March 27, 7 p.m.

Well, at least Saric got himself into warmer weather. He’ll also be reunited with former Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who took over as head coach in Phoenix. Those are really the only positives about Saric landing with the Suns. Always a fan favorite, Saric will be coming over to Philadelphia to a rousing ovation.

Markelle Fultz — Sixers vs. Magic, April 5, 1 p.m.

This one might be intriguing. Do we believe the hype around the latest Markelle Fultz shooting videos or do we think it’s the same story as last offseason? Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason, but obviously has yet to live up to anywhere near that lofty status. The crowd reaction could get ugly — especially if Fultz rediscovers his jumper and plays well.

Carsen Edwards — Sixers vs. Celtics, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Bruno Fernando — Sixers at Hawks, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Sure, there will be intrigue with Al Horford taking on his former teams, but let's face it: We all love to second guess every move ever. These games fall into the “what could’ve been” category. Edwards and Fernando were both acquired with picks originally held by the Sixers. General manager Elton Brand valued the roster spot/cap space more than drafting either player. It’s fair to note that Brand later re-signed Furkan Korkmaz to a deal. Would he have been better off selecting one of these two players? We’ll see.

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'The Process' is over in Philadelphia, long live 'The Process'

'The Process' is over in Philadelphia, long live 'The Process'

The Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday executed the latest in a seemingly endless series of roster resets. The team traded Jimmy Butler to Miami in a sign-and-trade for guard Josh Richardson, and signed veteran big man Al Horford, formerly of Boston, to a four-year deal. In addition, Tobias Harris remained with the Sixers, signing a five-year deal worth $180 million. 

There were many reactions to the moves from Sixers fans, and one thing I heard more than once was that these moves represent the official end of The Process. This was part of the sports talk radio chatter on Sunday, as well as the latest salvo in the never-ending argument over Sam Hinkie and whether his multiyear strategy of extreme tanking was worth the trouble. 

But then I realized something: over the course of the last four years, I've heard "the end of the Process" declared many, many times. 

For example:

Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast, in December 2015, discussed "The End of the Process," after the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo in a front office position giving him power over Hinkie. 

Hinkie’s resignation, in April of 2016, led Sports Illustrated to declare that the general manager’s departure “put the process in doubt.” A year later, David J. Roth would write for Vice that Hinkie’s departure “brought The Process era to an end in Philadelphia.”

The Fansided blog Sir Charles In Charge asked, at the start of the season in September 2016, whether that team's improved chances represented "the end of the Process.

Then-Sixer Nik Stauskas declared in a 2017 interview with The Score that "it's time that The Process is over, it's time that we start winning games, and start competing."

The Sixer Sense podcast declared in June 2017, after the Sixers moved up to draft Markelle Fultz, that it marked "The end of the Process." 

In a tweet in November of 2017, local PR guy Brian Hart declared the game-winning shot by J.J. Redick in an early-season game against Orlando "the end of The Process." 

Sports Illustrated wrote that “The Process is Over” in a December 2017 issue, because the team was ready to win. 

NBA writer Chris Sheridan, who would later emerge as a Sixers enemy for unrelated reasons, declared at the start of the playoffs in April 2018 that The Process was over and it was time to win. 

The Ringer, in a piece by local writer John Gonzalez, declared "The End of the Process" when the Sixers traded for Jimmy Butler in November 2018, in part because two of the players they gave up, Robert Covington and Dario Saric, were cornerstones of the Hinkie era. 

T.J. McConnell, who has played for the Sixers for the entire era, wrote a Players Tribune piece in December 2018 with the headline "The Process Is Over." 

The Washington Post asked "Is this actually the end of The Process?" in February of 2019, after the team's deadline trade for Tobias Harris. 

Bob Ford, in a Philadelphia Inquirer column that same week, asked whether the Harris trade represented the end of the Process, in the sense that it was the final cashing-in of assets that had been accumulated over time, as asset accumulation was a key tenet of the Hinkie strategy. 

"What if the end of the process was the lucky Kawhi shot?," Jason McIntyre wrote on Twitter Sunday, in reference to Kawhi Leonard's last-second shot in Game 7 of the Sixers' playoff series against Toronto, in May 2019. 

Bob Ford, once again, addressed the subject in an early June column, ultimately concluding that the three GMs -- Hinkie, Bryan Colangelo, and Elton Brand -- will represent “the beginning, middle, and end of The Process.” 

Which event really marked the end of The Process? There's really no right answer. 

The Process, after all, is something of a nebulous concept with no official definition, especially as fans continue to chant "Trust the Process" at home games and Joel Embiid has even adopted The Process as a nickname. 

Is The Process merely a euphemism for Sam Hinkie's tenure as general manager, and the resulting run of losing seasons? Does it count only the tanking period, or all events that flowed from it in the years afterward? Or does the Process continue for as long as any players that came to the Sixers as a result of Hinkie's strategy remain on the team, and therefore as long as they have a nucleus that's led by Embiid and Simmons? 

The two events with the greatest claim to represent the end of the Process are probably Hinkie’s resignation in 2016, and the trade of Covington and Saric for Butler in 2018. But it’s absolutely defensible to place the beginning of the Process at the moment of Hinkie’s hiring, and the end at whatever time the last players from that era depart. Your mileage may vary on that, as will that of the entirety of the local and national sports media. 

In the meantime, I can absolutely see Joel Embiid, in 15 years, announcing his retirement from basketball, and the local media declaring that No. 21’s retirement marks, at last, the official end of The Process.

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