Sixers coach Brett Brown is coming to the defense of his star player Jimmy Butler.
After a report from ESPN revealed tensions were running high within the franchise and the 29-year-old forward has been challenging Brown about his offensive role, Brown confirmed the report is true but explained Butler hasn’t yet crossed the line.
The report also indicated the two got into a heated exchange during a recent film session in Portland, but Brown said it wasn’t a big deal.
“In that film session that was referenced, I didn’t feel like any of it crossed the line,” Brown said (via phillyvoice.com). “And if it did, it would have been dealt with quickly,” said Brown. “If it were, I would own it. From his standpoint, that is unfair. From my standpoint, judging it in the light of day, I’ve had many conversations with players over the years that would warrant that type of description. This wasn’t one of them.”
While Butler has been vocal and opinionated behind-the-scenes, Brown said it’s been encouraged and he has asked for Butler’s feedback.
“He’s all in. He’s got opinions. But it’s instigated by me, what do you see and what do you think?” Brown said. “We know his personality. None of this should surprise anybody with regards to, he’s got opinions, he wants to be heard. He should be heard.
“You have to take the reality of my players talents and put them in a place where they can be at their best. The system has to cater to their talents and it’s on me to make sure that happens.”
The 76ers have looked different since acquiring Butler — who can become a free agent this summer — in a trade with the Timberwolves. Philadelphia is currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 26-14 record, and it has gone 17-8 since Butler arrived in November. Butler is averaging 18 points with 4.7 rebounds through 21 games with the Sixers.