Report: Butler challenging Brett Brown, Sixers system
In order to compete with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired forward Jimmy Butler from Minnesota in mid-November. In exchange, the Sixers sent two of their starters, Robert Covington and Dario Saric, to the T'Wolves. The goal for Sixers general manager Elton Brand was simple -- create a Big 3 with Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for this season and in years to come. Since Butler's arrival, the five-time All-Star hasn't always been used the way he should be, but he's been respectful and supportive of his teammates and coaches to this point.
Has that time come to an end already? Perhaps. ESPN is reporting that Butler isn't happy with the way he's being used and is challenging head coach Brett Brown and the Sixers offensive system.
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Jimmy Butler has aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense, complicating an already tenuous chemistry among the team's Big 3 hierarchy, league sources told ESPN.
Butler has been vocal in his contesting of Brown and his system, including a recent film session in Portland that some witnesses considered "disrespectful" and beyond normal player-coach discourse.
Per ESPN, Brett Brown has told people within the organization that he had 'no issue' with the exchange between him and Butler. He considered it 'within the confines' of the relationship they've built since his arrival. Butler's journey to Philadelphia included bad endings in Chicago and Minnesota, but a spot on the Sixers seemed to bring a fresh start for Butler.
With regard to Butler's role, it's easy to figure out why he's reportedly frustrated. Since coming to the Sixers, Brett Brown has used him primarily in a role similar to that of Robert Covington. ESPN's article says that Butler has spoken to his teammates about his desire to play in more traditional sets.
Butler has expressed a desire to teammates that he hopes to play in more traditional pick-and-roll and isolation sets, rather than trying to find his place in the Sixers free-flowing offense, league sources said. In searching for answers, Butler has met privately with Brown and his coaching staff, as well as general manager Elton Brand, league sources told ESPN.
Butler joins Joel Embiid as two Sixers who have expressed displeasure in their role since the trade.
The Sixers are 14-8 since the acquisition of Butler and have a chunk of their upcoming schedule against premiere teams in the league. Starting January 17, they have a stretch that includes match-ups against the Pacers, Thunder, Rockets, Spurs, Nuggets (2), Lakers (2), Warriors, Raptors and Celtics.
It's probably in everyone's best interest to get things figured out as playoff seeding becomes more and more important.