Heat’s Jimmy Butler praises Joel Embiid, blasts 76ers after eliminating former team: ‘Tobias Harris over me?’

 Heat’s Jimmy Butler praises Joel Embiid, blasts 76ers after eliminating former team: ‘Tobias Harris over me?’

After his Miami Heat eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Jimmy Butler said he still wishes he was with Joel Embiid. In Butler’s walk-off interview, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano asked what he said to Embiid after the buzzer.

“That I love him,” Butler said. “I’m proud of him. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I still wish I was on his team. I really like the Miami Heat, though, man. I’m glad I’m here. But I have so much respect and love for Joel. Embiid. “

In his press conference after the 99-90 loss in Game 6, Embiid clarified that mutual was felt.

“Obviously that’s my guy, that’s my brother,” Embiid said. “I mean, it’s hard. But I’m very proud of him. He’s playing at an unreal level right now. He’s different now. He can do it.”

Embiid paid tribute to the Heat, their coaching staff and their front office, then went on about Butler: “I’m glad he’s here. I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t want him to be with me. I don’t know how we did it. he will be released. But I wish I could still go and fight him. But it is.

While Butler praised Embiid, he made some complaints about his former team. On Thursday, after a court appearance at the Wells Fargo Center, Butler wanted to remind the 76ers of their staff decisions from 2019. The video captured Butler shouting “Tobias Harris over me?” as he entered the Heat locker room.

Butler and Embiid are teammates without a full season, and there has been no return to the Sixers since then that has been better. On May 12, 2019, exactly three years before they were eliminated by the Heat in Game 6 of the second round, they lost Game 7 in Toronto to legendary, four-bounce buzzer-beater Kawhi Leonard.

The team’s full strength starting with five-Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Butler, Harris and Embiid-has played just 161 minutes in 10 regular-season games, but is very dominant: 121.9 points per 100 possession on offense, 102.5 per 100 on defense. It had a better point difference in 173 minutes of the playoffs, but that’s it. In the 2019 offseason, Butler went to Miami on a sign-and-trade and the Sixers signed Al Horford to free agency.

Butler and Embiid are like thieves in their short time together, and their team is literally approaching someone to beat the champions. In the 204 minutes they have been on the court in that seven-game series, the Sixers outscored the Raptors by 76 points, or 18.3 per 100 possession.

So why did Butler leave? In a 2020 story for the Bleacher Report, Yaron Weitzman reports that Philadelphia is worried about Butler’s continued clash with former coach Brett Brown and his presence complicating things for Simmons – in the Toronto series , Butler became the Sixers ’primary playmaker, substituting Simmons. in the limited, off-ball halfcourt role. Philadelphia was reportedly attracted to Horford because he believed he could defend Giannis Antetokounmpo and start in center every time Embiid missed games.

In Game 6 against the Raptors, Butler scored 25 points, grabbed six rebounds and eight assists, while Simmons scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and made six assists. The Sixers won the game, and it was easily Simmons ’best all-around game in the series. Afterwards, ESPN’s Zach Lowe asked Simmons about spending a lot of time on the ball, at the dunker spot.

“It’s not about the dunker’s presence, because [my role] definitely not that, “Simmons told Lowe.” I’m more valuable than that. “Simmons added that he’s played there before and” just made a lot of games out of there tonight. “

Writing for Fox Sports last summer, Weitzman reported that Simmons was disappointed when Butler became a point guard, and management was worried that Simmons would not be able to handle it well if it continued, with Philadelphia’s role deciding to will not remain in the Butler business. In late September, after someone “with knowledge of Simmons’ perspective ”told The Athletic Sam Amick that Simmons believed his partnership with Embiid was“ running it, ”Embiid backed up the initial report. about Butler’s exit, and added that he disagreed up front. the office’s decision at the time – and still is.

“It was amazing to see what was being said,” Embiid said. “Even back to the reason we signed Al. We took Jimmy, which I think was still a mistake, but he needed the ball in his hands and that was the decision they made.”

The same summer that Philadelphia lost Butler and Redick, it also signed Harris to a five-year, $ 180 million contract.

There’s a very long list of what will happen to the Sixers in the six years since Embiid made his NBA debut. Even if they didn’t send Simmons to Brooklyn for James Harden after a trade request, and even if they didn’t lose to Butler’s team in the playoffs a few months ago, once again falling into the conference finals, “What what if they were watching Butler? ” should be close to the top.

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