2019 NBA Schedule: Sixers Set to Take On Jimmy Butler in November
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) -- It has been quite some time since the Philadelphia 76ers last took the hardwood in 2019. A year full of constant changes with ups and downs ended in the worst way possible. It ended with heartbreak.
Game seven on the road against the second-seeded Toronto Raptors was a matchup that many Sixers fans from Philadelphia and beyond believed should've never existed in the first place. Had Sixers star center Joel Embiid never have gotten sick, they probably would've wrapped the series up themselves much earlier.
That wasn't the case, however. Embiid did get sick, and he did struggle more often than not. Other Sixers stars had their bad days as well, which caused a team-wide malfunction at some point. Meanwhile, the Raptors were led by their ferocious leader at the time in Kawhi Leonard. The Sixers, on the other hand, leaned on their veteran leader, Jimmy Butler.
While Butler didn't have the series that Kawhi did, he did put the team on his back when necessary. Butler wasn't around in Philly for a long time, as he was an in-season acquisition -- but after his contributions in the playoffs, many believed he should've been a part of the Sixers organization for the remainder of his career.
Sixers' General Manager Elton Brand might've seen it that way as well. After all, word around town is that the Sixers were fully prepared to give him a five-year deal, worth the max money. Butler had other plans though. After initially expressing interest in trying to join the Miami Heat last fall, Butler's team at the time wouldn't fully cooperate and instead sent him to Philadelphia.
Even though Butler seemed to have enjoyed his time in Philly with the Sixers, the strange love affair with the Miami Heat would never go away. And thanks to a close relationship with fellow Marquette star Dwyane Wade, Butler would get linked to the Miami Heat once again.
So instead of allowing Butler to figure out things on his own with the Heat in Free Agency, the Sixers did a sign and trade. So Butler got his contract and his desired team, which happened to be the Heat -- not the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now, the love for Butler in Philly has quickly faded. Suddenly, the Sixers fan base joins the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls in strongly disliking Jimmy Butler. As expected, this season the Sixers will be allowed the opportunity to let Butler know how they feel as the Miami Heat come to Philly on November 23rd.
As the NBA released the full regular-season schedule for the NBA on Monday, Sixers fans are now made aware of the dates they need to circle on their calendars in order to see some revenge game action. And don't worry, the fans aren't the only ones who are out to get Butler and the Heat. Former Miami guard Josh Richardson is looking forward to it as well.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_