Heat's Jimmy Butler Denies Any Issues With Sixers' Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid
It's now been over a year since the Philadelphia 76ers struck a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves in order to land Jimmy Butler. Even though Butler's issues from within the Minnesota locker room were widely known, the Sixers didn't seem to proceed with caution. Instead, they took a risk knowing Butler could not only be a problem, but he could also be out of the program by the following season.
Was Butler actually a problem in Philly's locker room? The public doesn't have any real clue. All we know at this point is that something happened, which prevented Butler from remaining in Philadelphia on a max contract. Butler claims something went wrong during the negotiation process, but he doesn't want to speak on it.
As for the Sixers, they refuse the talk about it as well. That leaves everybody that's in the unknown guessing what might've gone wrong. While there's a handful of theories out there, the one that stuck the most was that Butler didn't take a liking to Philadelphia's young superstars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Similar to how he refused to embrace Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns in Minnesota.
Earlier this year, all rumors regarding Butler and Embiid were debunked. At this point, it's quite obvious the two are very good friends and still keep in touch often. As for Butler and Simmons, there doesn't seem to be much of a relationship there between the two. Despite the fact they never seem to interact from what the public sees, Butler made it a point during his sit down with Sports Illustrated's own Andrew Sharp that he has zero-conflict with Embiid and Simmons.
"I didn't have a problem with either of them," Butler told Sharp. "I still talk to those dudes. I wish them the absolute best. A career of great health, make as much money as you can, win as many championships as you can. I did not have a problem with any of those guys. It just didn't work the way that we wanted it to work. That's life."
There you have it. Once again, Butler teased there was behind the scenes conflict, but apparently, it doesn't have anything to do with a soured relationship with the Sixers' two stars, Embiid and Simmons. That leaves all other theories still on the table.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_