Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Jimmy Butler’s decision to leave the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent in the summer of 2019 reportedly stemmed in part from his assessment of Ben Simmons’ mentality during their time together as teammates.
Per The Athletic’s Zach Harper, Butler “didn’t view [Simmons] on par with someone like himself or [Joel] Embiid when it came to mental makeup.”
Harper noted Butler also “didn’t like the hierarchy” of the Sixers organization.
In the past, Butler has denied that he wanted to leave Philadelphia because of any issues with Embiid or Simmons.
“I didn’t have a problem with either one of them,” he told Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated in February. “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.”
According to Harper, Butler “loved” Embiid and their personalities “connected” during their six months as teammates during the 2018-19 season. The five-time All-Star has consistently been critical of the Sixers hierarchy.
Here’s what Butler said about the 76ers organization in March during an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast (starts at the beginning):
Butler averaged 18.2 points in 55 games during the 2018-19 regular season with Philadelphia after being traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Heat acquired Butler in July 2019 as part of a sign-and-trade deal involving four teams, including the 76ers. He is averaging 20.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this postseason to help lead Miami into the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.