It feels like a long time ago at this point, but I’m old enough to remember that Jimmy Butler was once a Philadelphia 76er.
Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler worked extremely well together. They were a ridiculous Kawhi Leonard game-winning shot away from potentially going to the Eastern Conference Finals with that combination.
The Sixers have been trying to find Joel Embiid a formidable partner in crime for the last 3 years since Butler left in free agency. Obviously, they haven’t quite been able to do it. Ben Simmons obviously wasn’t it. James Harden hasn’t been it just yet either after his poor performance in Game 6 on Thursday.
But that’s the thing — Butler was right there. And they chose not to bring him back for a number of reasons. They didn’t want to pay Butler and Tobias Harris. Plus, Ben Simmons and Butler didn’t really get along well and the team chose to roll with Simmons.
Butler knows all of that. And he called the team out for it with cameras in earshot after the game.
“ over me? Tobias Harris over me? over me?”
We only hear Tobias Harris’ name here because there are some expletives that are censored out here. But, uh, it doesn’t feel like this was just targeted at Tobias Harris. At all.
The people were on Butler’s side, too. They think he’s absolutely right.
That was a franchise changing mistake, indeed. The 76ers are still living with the results today.
Ben Simmons isn’t on the team. Tobias Harris is. And Jimmy Butler is going to his second Conference Finals in 3 years — a place where the Sixers just can’t get to.
That has to hurt.