Jimmy Butler finally elaborated a bit on his brief Sixers tenure in an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast.
The pair talk about a variety of topics before getting into Philly basketball, and there’s a long story shared about a meeting leading up to the conflict between Butler and head coach Brett Brown that took place in Portland, which was reported as “aggressive” and “disrespectful” at the time.
Brett, you’ll recall, downplayed the incident and said nothing about it “crossed a line.” Here’s Jimmy and JJ talking about it, in part:
Redick: Was last year difficult for you?
Redick: Not just getting traded, but the whole shit in the summer, preseason –
Butler: Hell yeah it was difficult. It was so different and on any given day, me as a person, as a player, I didn’t know who the fuck was in charge. I think that was my biggest thing. I didn’t know what the fuck to expect when I would go into the gym, when I would go into the game. I was like, man, I think I was as lost as the next motherfucker.
Redick: Meaning there was just a lot of voices.
Redick: A lot of stuff from a lot of different places.
Butler: Yeah, and so much going on on any given day. I was like, ‘yup, I guess I’m just gonna work.’ I didn’t even know who to talk to.
Redick: At what point did you realize –
Butler: At that fucking meeting in the office, and I told you that. I was like, I cannot believe –
Redick: So Brett brings me, you, Joel and Ben, this is pre-Tobias trade. Was this before or after the – obviously I’ll tell my side of the story about what happened in Portland with you and the meeting, which got reported, this was before or after that?
Butler: It was before (the west coast trip), and we’re all sitting in there, and nothing got accomplished at all. And I told you this as we walked out. I was like ‘JJ, why would I ever go back in there again?’ Nothing is getting accomplished. Nobody is saying nothing to anybody. We’re just sitting in here watching film, and you can literally hear the thing just clicking. We’re all just looking around. You gotta think, I may have been there two or three weeks top.
Redick: Yeah it was the first month.
Butler: So I sit back and I’m watching, I’m not saying anything. If you go by what you read, what do you think of me? If you go by what you read? So I’m sitting back and relaxing and I’m thinking ‘these motherfuckers are gonna think I’m an asshole anyway,’ let me be quiet. So I’m sitting back and hearing click, click, looking around, click click, alright let’s go practice. Why did we sit through this? That’s literally what’s going on in my head. So I said ‘JJ, why would I go back in there again?’ We didn’t do nothing. Nothing got accomplished. We fast forward to however many weeks in Portland, and then that happens during a film session, because once again ain’t nobody saying nothing. So who was the individual who decided to finally say something?
Redick: Here’s the fucked up part; you did one thing wrong.
Butler: What did I do?
Redick: Nothing you said about the team was wrong. I thought your interaction with Brett that day was a normal interaction, I don’t know why it got reported the way it did. You were coming off whatever happened in Chicago, whatever happened in Minnesota, I get it. So he’s like, ‘there’s some tweaks to the offense, I think some other guys on the team feel the same way,’ and who did you throw under the bus?You threw the nicest guy, T.J. McConnell under the bus.
Butler: I did not throw T.J. McConnell under the bus.
Redick: Jimmy goes, ‘T.J. wants more pick and roll.’
Butler: I did not say that! This is what I did, I did not say T.J. (Brett) said, ‘who else feels a type of way about it?’ Now keep in mind, everybody comes to me to talk because they know I’m not afraid to be that asshole. Obviously I walked to him. Brett asked a great question, ‘who else feels a type of way about something?’ All I did, I didn’t hear nothing behind me but I knew somebody was gonna speak up because it (involved about five people). But crickets. So I turned around and the first person I happened to lock eyes with was T.J. So Monte (Williams) goes ‘yo, for real, now is the time.’ I was like T.J., if you don’t say what you got to say. But I feel like it’s okay to speak your mind, ain’t nothing wrong with it. The worst thing Brett could have said is ‘fuck you, no,’ but at least you got to say what you gotta say.
Redick: You know how I feel about Brett. I love Brett. I know your relationship wasn’t the same.
Butler: Sure was not.
Redick: But towards the end of year though, as we sort of tweaked how the offense was run, especially in the playoffs, where you were playing on the ball more, did that relationship evolve more, or was it strictly a professional relationship?
Butler: I would say it was professional. But to this day, I don’t think that was fair, to switch over like that. Even though I think we played great basketball like that, I don’t think it was fair because the entire year Ben had the ball. So you mean to tell me that in one playoff series, you just switch it up like that? I would be like he was. I would feel a type of way. I would feel that it’s fucked up to play an entire way one year, and then boom, this is how we’re gonna do it. I used to tell Brett, ‘I think we should mix in me handling the ball a little bit.’ (He said) ‘nah we do A to B (the motion offense), we do this.’ I would be pissed, and I’m not gonna complain about it, but I don’t think that was the best play of doing it.
The story continues with the pair talking about the Kawhi shot and other things, so you’ll have to listen for yourself. If I transcribe more of that conversation I will develop carpal tunnel. Listening to all of that gave me enough PTSD as it is.
Here’s a link to the podcast: JJ with Jimmy Butler