Jimmy Butler Adds His Two Cents on Joel Embiid's Social Media Situation
Around this time last season, the Philadelphia 76ers were gearing up for the final stretch of the year, looking to make a push for the second seed in the Eastern Conference bracket. This year isn't much different, except for the fact that the Sixers look a little different.
Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris are still in the starting lineup. The other two positions, however, have been replaced by new guys. Instead of JJ Redick, the Sixers are rolling out Josh Richardson. And instead of Jimmy Butler, the Sixers have Al Horford, who will now be replaced by somebody else.
Last season, it seemed as if the Sixers wouldn't let Butler go anywhere. While he wasn't putting up huge numbers in the regular season, his ability to close out games made him a unique piece for a young Sixers team.
After his playoff performances last year, many wanted the Sixers to hold onto Butler. That didn't happen, though. Instead, something went down behind the scenes, and things didn't work out. Neither the Sixers nor Butler wants to discuss what happened exactly, but nobody denies that there were some issues, which led to Jimmy's departure.
Nowadays, Butler is happily playing with the Miami Heat, but he still decides to bring up the Sixers every once and a while to spark the old flame now and then. And his latest attempt to rile up the situation was perhaps his biggest of all when he made a simple comment on Joel Embiid's cryptic Instagram post.
By quoting Jimmy Butler, who quoted Christian Bale's Batman, Embiid wrote: "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Embiid's post pertained to the fact that the fans who would always cheer for him no matter what, were beginning to turn on him. And instead of complaining about it -- Embiid embraced the role of becoming the heel on the Sixers.
Before Embiid admitted he was trolling, though, he took it up a notch by responding to his old pal Jimmy Butler, who said: "I know a place where villains are welcome." Embiid's response? "Damn right, my brother." Was Butler really trying to convince Embiid somehow to force his way down to Miami? Well, the Heat star was asked about it in Chicago this weekend, and this was his response.
"To me, Joel Embiid, he's not a 76ers player. That's my brother, that's my guy. I went through the trenches with him. It has nothing to do with that. But, because I did comment, it damn near broke the internet. I posted the caption first. I did that in Minnesota so that's why I commented."
So there it is, just old teammates and current close friends toying around with NBA fans on social media. While Embiid's close relationship with Butler does make the situation a little scary for Sixers fans, just know that Embiid has been talking his current team up a lot as of late. All of the social media antics were jokes -- his heart is still in Philly.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_