The coming months will be big for the Philadelphia 76ers and guard Jimmy Butler, but whether the two wind up together once again is the million dollar question. After Butler was traded to the Sixers from the Minnesota Timberwolves, he consistently proved that winning was his primary focus, as he showed little issue taking a backseat offensively at times.
Now, Butler will be a free agency, and during his exit interview following the Sixers’ loss to the Toronto Raptors, he addressed his future. As The Athletic’s Derek Bodner detailed, Butler spoke about what he’ll look for on the open market.
“I haven’t thought about (free agency) too much…You always want to be able to win. I think that’s key for sure. You’re looking at coaches. You’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes in to it.” Butler said, via Bodner.
Some took the comment on “looking at coaches” as a knock on Sixers coach Brett Brown, who’s rumored to be on the hot seat. But that was quickly put to rest by Butler as he offered high praise of Brown shortly after.
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Jimmy Butler Praises Brett Brown, Calls Himself ‘Difficult at Times’
While Butler has created a bit of drama in previous spots with various teams, his time with the Sixers was smooth for the most part. Rumors of one or two instances involving Brown came to light, but the guard had high praise for his coach on Monday.
As The Athletic’s Derek Bodner also cited, Butler called Brown a “great, great dude that works incredibly hard,” while pointing out that he knows he can be difficult at times.
“(Our relationship) is constantly growing, that’s for sure…I think he realized how different of a human being I am. How I can be difficult at times, but I swear it’s from a good place…He has a huge heart. He’s a great, great dude that works incredibly hard.” Butler said, via Bodner.
For good measure, Butler also attempted to throw some cold water on those rumors about Brown’s job security. The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann cited Butler’s final statement on the relationship with his coach by revealing that he thinks Brown is “going to be here for a long time.”
Jimmy Butler Talks Contract & Future
One big talking point is whether the Sixers will give Butler a max contract, which does seem to be likely. Regardless, a team is likely to offer him a max deal this offseason, and Butler confirmed that he believes this will be the case as well.
Per Jon Johnson of Sports Radio WIP, Butler says he thinks he’ll get a max contract anywhere, while also citing that the Sixers are good enough to win a title with their current build.
As far as where that max contract will come from, (most) Sixers fans are surely hoping he remains in Philly, but there’ll be a number of teams who make a push for Butler in the near future.