Early last December, I wrote about Joel Embiid being unhappy with his role in the offense since Jimmy Butler joined the 76ers. Now according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski Butler has now expressed his frustration on how he is used in the offense. According to the report Butler lashed out at coach Brett Brown during a film session after a 30 point loss to the Portland Trailblazers. The report also alleges that several people in the room were uncomfortable in how Butler addressed coach Brown.
According to the report, Butler did not feel they were running enough pick n roll sets. In his eyes, this is limiting his success in the offense. First Embiid expressed his frustrations and now Butler is expressing his.
When Philly traded for Butler they had to know there would be a possibility of some tension amongst their big 3. Especially between Embiid and Butler. Embiid is a rising superstar in the league and clearly is the 76ers best player. The question was how would Butler handle being the number two option? Butler sees himself as a number one option and carries himself like one. Brett Brown was going to have his hands full managing this situation. So far he has said all the right things to the calm the emotions of his two-star players.
The Sixers have a lot of unanswered questions moving forward.
Number One: How does this affect the impending Jimmy Butler free agency? When the trade was made it had to be understood that Butler was going to sign long-term. Now all of that may be off the table if this situation cannot be worked out. If the Sixers offer him the max he's looking for Butler will stay with the team, but that might mean a coaching change would come next.
Number Two: Is Brett Brown the best option to coach this team long-term? Coach Brown should get a lot of credit for guiding this team through ”the process”, but now the team is ready to go to the next level. Brown may not be the coach who is capable of getting the Sixers to that level. There have been several issues that Brown has not handled well most notably the Markelle Fultz situation. Now he has another one his stars speaking out about being unhappy with their roles. Brown is going to have to get everyone on the same page, or he could very well find himself eventually out in Philly.
Number Three: How does Ben Simmons fit into all of this? How does this affect Simmons decision to sign long term? He has said little to nothing since Butler has joined the team. He is a rising star in his own right coming off a season where he was named Rookie of the Year. He has been relegated to the third best player on the team. Even though that is clearly the case I would like to believe Simmons sees himself as a one. It's been documented that although they get along him and Embiid are not the best of friends. If the Sixers sign Butler long term and max out Embiid would Simmons want to stay?
This reflects poorly on Jimmy Butler who now finds himself calling out another coach. We might be inclined to ask is there something wrong with Jimmy Butler? Butler is going to say I want to win, and I play hard, and I am a very passionate player. Why all of this may be true as someone who proclaims himself as a leader and winner he is going to have to take some responsibility for his behavior. This is now his third team and third coach he has had an incident with. At some point, Butler is going to have to realize his leadership style may need some adjusting.
New General Manager Elton Brand and ownership have a lot of questions that need to be addressed. The Sixers believe they can make the conference finals and even make an NBA finals run. The season is about to hit the all-break next month and the playoffs will be here before we know it. They do not have a lot of time to get all of the problems ironed out. With this being the second issue since Butler joined the team there is definitely something going on in Philly. Will the Sixers right the ship? Or is this is a sign of a bigger problem on the horizon? Stay tuned I have a feeling this drama is far from over.