Philadelphia coach Brett Brown denied a report that Jimmy Butler was disrespectful while questioning his role in the 76ers offence.
A report published on Saturday (AEDT) said Butler recently challenged Brown and wants to be utilised differently in the coach’s offensive scheme.
Brown dismissed the report before Saturday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks as he tried to pour cold water on the situation by calling it a “non-story” and saying he doesn’t believe “topics like this are appropriate (to talk about) with the media”.
ESPN reported Butler’s questioning of Brown’s tactics during a video session was considered “disrespectful” by some, but Brown disagreed.
“As I’ve said to the team a moment ago, I’ve had many meetings with Jimmy. In the film session, I didn’t think it went over the line. If it did, I would’ve addressed it,” Brown said.
“I didn’t feel like any of that crossed the line.
“He’s vocal. He’s all in and he has opinions, but it’s instigated by me. None of this should surprise anybody.
“He’s got opinions. He wants to be heard. And he should be heard.”
Butler was not available for comment, and the Sixers said he would not play on Sunday against Dallas due to an upper respiratory infection.
Philadelphia acquired Butler, a four-time All-Star, with an eye on making a run to the NBA championship. But meshing Butler with stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid hasn’t always been easy — which Brown acknowledged.
“There’s nobody trying to figure this out more than I am,” Brown said.
Butler’s contention is that he would like to be used more in pick-and-roll or isolation situations offensively, but those aren’t hallmarks of Brown’s offence.
“You can’t always win on your own terms,” Brown said.
Brown said that he would like to accommodate Butler’s request as much as he can without completely altering his system and what he thinks will work for the 76ers’ other stars.
“The team part of this is my true north,” he said.
The 76ers are 16-8 since acquiring Butler from the Minnesota — who he left in acrimonious circumstances after just one full season following months of bickering with the franchise’s front office.
However, Brown said it was unfair to link Butler’s past with the latest report of him voicing his opinion.
“In a crazy way it’s unfair to Jimmy Butler,” Brown said. “The history Jimmy has had with other programs, other coaches, that’s not fair with the description of that particular film session that was referenced.”