Where Do Sixers and Butler Stand Moving Forward?


Skating on Thin Ice

It seems like every other week there is a disparaging report made about Philly’s newest all-star, Jimmy Butler. We all know Butler doesn’t exactly have the best reputation as a teammate or as a soft spoken guy. However, to say that he is on “thin ice” without any context and basing your judgment off of rumor and innuendo is flat out blasphemous. That accusation was from legendary NBA Columnist, Jackie MacMullan. MacMullan was recently a guest on January 23rd, 2019 edition of The Lowe Post podcast and had this to say:

As transcribed by Andrew Porter of WIP94 in Philadelphia:

“I think he’s on thin ice, Zach,” MacMullan said of Butler. “I think he’s on thin ice. And I think he’s a very talented player, and no one has ever called him soft either. He’s a very tough player. On paper, he would be exactly what you’d want on a team. He’s not a selfish player, I would never say that about him. He defends. Boy, does he defend. He gets at it. He makes good decisions on the offensive end of the floor. I don’t know him well enough to know, is it real or is it bravado — this whole idea that I’m going to take everyone on.
“I can tell you, having spent a couple of days in Philadelphia, they don’t love it.” (The Lowe Post)

Battling Brown

Since first acquiring Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, it seems as if the national media has rooted for the failure of the Butler/Sixers experiment. It was first reported on January 4th that Butler was unhappy with his role in the Sixers’ organization and had “aggressively challenged” Brett Brown and his offensive system. Butler, as mentioned before, is not known for being a soft spoken guy. However, what NBA greats can you recall that haven’t challenged their coaches, or wanted to elevate their teammates to the next level? Back in December, Brown acknowledged his personality and welcomed it:

To me, he’s fantastic because I think if you can talk with somebody, you can coach him. He’s fun to talk with. He’s got such a tremendous personality. He’s a free spirit — there are lots of great players that have that maverick in them. He’s not like a ‘yes, sir, no, sir’ Boy Scout guy, and that’s fine by me. It’s an enjoyable conversation. His growth — and you can see it on his face, he shines. He’s got tremendous personality. I like that. I think that’s helpful for the team, and I’m seeing it in increments.” (NBC

Below is Butler’s response from the report:

Calipari Claps Back

During an interview with ESPN in November, University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari, — former coach of Karl-Anthony Towns — referred to Butler as a bully.

“I bet that environment was so uncomfortable for him. First of all, he and Jimmy are totally different people — how they were brought up, their likes and dislikes, how they approach competition. You have one guy on this side and one guy on the other side. … Things happen. There are power struggles all the time in [the NBA]. If a guy can bully you, he will bully you. And that’s what Jimmy did to Karl. C’mon, that’s the league.”

When Butler was approached about this comment during his first encounter with his former T-Wolves team, he had this to say to Coach Cal:

“He can call me a bully, but when [Calipari] sees me, I’m gonna confront him about it. If I’m a bully, I’m gonna bully him, too. I’ll tell him how I feel, just like I’d tell anyone else. I don’t care if he’s some big head coach. I’m not bullying nobody. I’m just keeping it real. Some of these guys aren’t used to it. When you have as much talent as [Karl] has had throughout his life, guys don’t keep it real with him. I do.”

Max Contract?

Although Butler is a tenacious two-way player, could these constant “reports” of him being on the bad side of the Sixers’ organization prevent him from receiving a max deal this summer? Let’s not forget that the Sixers gave up Robert Covington and Dario Saric to the Timberwolves under the impression that they were going to sign Butler to a long-term deal. The Sixers would be able to offer roughly $190 million over the next five years.

Other notable Sixers free agents after this year include J.J. Redick, Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler. Would you like to see Butler back in a Sixers jersey next year? Would you like to roll the dice on other notable free agents such as Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving or possibly Kevin Durant? Whatever happens this season, newly-appointed GM Elton Brand will surely have his hands full as he looks to tackle his first NBA Free Agency this upcoming July.


About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead.

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