Jimmy Butler Reveals Why All-Star Left Sixers for Heat

Getty Heat forward Jimmy Butler.

Stuff didn’t work out. That was the oddly-phrased reason Jimmy Butler originally gave for leaving Philadelphia.

The awkwardly vague remark gave credence to the theory that Butler possibly had a falling out with Sixers brass. Or maybe he couldn’t co-exist with superstars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

No one really knew why he chose to move on from promise “The Process” for the glamor of South Beach. That is, until now.

Butler shared some deeper insight into the exit during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. In it, the Heat forward makes it clear there were absolutely no problems with either Simmons or Embiid.

“I didn’t have a problem with either one of them,” Butler told Andrew Sharp. “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. That’s life. Not everything pans out the way you want it to pan out. But you learn and you move on from it.”

More Money, More Problems? Not Necessarily

There are some in Philadelphia who feel Jimmy Butler spurned the Sixers over money. That GM Elton Brand low-balled him with an offer and it rubbed Butler the wrong way. If that was indeed the case, Butler isn’t saying.

He chose Miami and the Heat are thriving, with a 37-22 record and third place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers opted to give Tobias Harris a max contract and — for better or worse — are doing OK. Philadelphia holds a 37-23 record, good for fifth-best in the East.

Sports Illustrated‘s Andrew Sharp dropped the following snippet

Butler isn’t interested in elaborating on what, exactly, didn’t work. Likewise, asked whether he would still be in Philadelphia if the Sixers had offered him a five-year, $190 million contract in July, he says, “Nobody knows what was offered and what was said. You only know what the media told you.”

What’s indisputable is that he’s in Miami seven months later—and the Heat have a better record than the 76ers.

Butler has been the catalyst for the Heat’s surge up the standings, too. He’s averaging 20.6 points in 34.4 minutes per game. More importantly, he’s been an invaluable sounding board and mentor for his younger teammates in Miami.

“The first day, five-on-five, he was already talking crazy to other players,” Heat guard Tyler Herro told Sports Illustrated. “Like, ‘This is what I expect. No matter whether it’s the summer, or whenever it is.’ That set the tone for the whole group, for the whole year.”

Tobias Harris Trying to Live Up to Max Contract

Back in Philadelphia, Tobias Harris has been feeling the pressure. His max contract — five years at $180 million — was seen as a steep price to pay for an unproven player. Harris hasn’t done much to shift the argument.

Sure, Harris is a borderline All-Star and averaging 19.2 points in 34.5 minutes per game for the Sixers. But that hefty contract makes him a polarizing figure who has disappeared for long stretches in games, a streaky shooter who can’t always be relied upon when the team absolutely needs a bucket.

He’ll need to step up over the next few weeks with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid sidelined. For now, Harris is ignoring the “outside noise” and focusing on helping the Sixers win down the stretch.

“The only noise that carries weight for me is the noise in our locker room, and with the guys on our team and our coaching staff,” Harris told reporters. “I truly believe, and you can ask every single one of them in the locker room, the value that I bring to this team on and off the floor and they will vouch for that, and that’s the credibility I go with.”

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