Less than two months after he used a series public criticisms, run-ins with teammates and management, and trade demands to essentially force his way out of Minnesota, four-time All-Star guard Jimmy Butler is reportedly “aggressively challenging” Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown.
According to a report Friday by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, league sources said Butler’s criticisms of his role in Philadelphia’s offense spilled over into a recent film session during which Butler “aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense, complicating an already tenuous chemistry among the team’s Big Three hierarchy.”
During the film session in Portland, ESPN reported Butler’s protest of Brown and the system rose to a level some in attendance viewed as “‘disrespectful’ and beyond normal player-coach discourse.”
According the report, however, Brown viewed the incident more as falling in line with the nature of his relationship with Butler as opposed to a singular show of disrespect. The report added that Butler is aware that “his intense, direct style can come off as combative as he is trying to make clear his viewpoints.”
Many believed the 76ers’ mid-November acquisition of Butler from the Timberwolves would make them contenders, if not the favorites, in the Eastern Conference with the trio of Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the floor. While the team is 16-8 since the trade (15-6 in games that Butler plays in), the 76ers have struggled to establish consistent success while the trio has yet to establish a real chemistry.
According to the report, upper management has placed “an urgency for Brown and his coaching staff to stabilize the situation.”
Butler, 29, can be a free agent this offseason, making the need to fit him into the 76ers’ free-flowing offense even more critical. Philadelphia currently sits in fourth place in the East.
—Field Level Media