Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown has said that shooting guard Jimmy Butler did not cross the line or get disrespectful during their debate over his role in the team's offense.
Butler joined the Sixers earlier this season after demanding a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer and he looked quite comfortable in Brown's set-up following the switch. However, there have been complaints from both the guard and Joel Embiid over their usage in recent weeks.
Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that the 29-year-old "aggressively challenged" Brown over his role in the side during a film session in Portland, with certain witnesses claiming that the player got disrespectful.
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#Sixers coach Brett Brown on ESPN report of Jimmy Butler’s criticism: ‘As I’ve said to the team a moment ago, I’ve had many meetings with Jimmy. In the film session, I didn’t think it went over the line. If it did, I would’ve addressed it.’— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) January 5, 2019
"Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Jimmy Butler has aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense, complicating an already tenuous chemistry among the team's Big Three hierarchy, league sources told ESPN," the report read.
"Butler has been vocal in his contesting of Brown and his system, including a recent film session in Portland that some witnesses considered "disrespectful" and beyond normal player-coach discourse."
Brown, though, has since addressed the matter, insisting that there was no disrespect and that the player never crossed the line during their exchange.
"As I've said to the team a moment ago, I've had many meetings with Jimmy. In the film session, I didn't think it went over the line. If it did, I would've addressed it," the coach said, per Bucks County Courier Times' Tom Moore.
"He wanted to be in more pick and rolls. That was true. My job is to make this work."
Brown also told The Athletic's Michael Lee that the report was a non-story, adding that the reaction to what Butler said is unfair.
#Sixers coach Brett Brown on ESPN report of Jimmy Butler’s criticism: ‘He wanted to be in more pick and rolls. That was true. My job is to make this work.’— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) January 5, 2019
Brett Brown on report about disagreement with Jimmy Butler during a film session in Portland: "I think it's a non-story." Added Jimmy would like to be used in more P&R but said he didn't interpret the exchange negatively & believes the reaction is "unfair" to Jimmy— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 5, 2019
What This Means
There's no way of knowing what really happened during the film session in question just yet. But what we do know is that there was a strong message exuding dissatisfaction coming from Jimmy's end.
Of course, Brown would say that it was not disrespectful. He doesn't want anyone saying "I told you so" after knowingly pursuing a combustible player. But if things get any worse, he won't be able to hide it for very long.