Jimmy Butler, in a recent Instagram live discussion, was asked to pick between Sixers center Joel Embiid and Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns
The conclusion to the relationship between the Philadelphia 76ers organization and Jimmy Butler is supposed to have been contentious. The Sixers, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, decided not to offer Jimmy Butler a five-year max contract. Instead, they signed Tobias Harris and Al Horford to deals that are almost certainly above market value.
Butler signed with the Miami Heat in the 2019 offseason by way of a sign-and-trade (in which Philly landed Josh Richardson).
Though the relationship between Butler and Sixers management/ownership doesn’t seem to be a bubbly one, Butler and Sixers players were extremely close during his time with the team, and that relationship remains.
In a recent Instagram Live discussion with Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, (NSFW language in clips) Jimmy Butler was asked to choose between the two young All-Star big men he’s had the chance to play with — Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.
"“You’re on a banana boat, you’ve got one seat left. Are you taking Joel Embiid, or Karl-Anthony Towns?,” Bird asked. “Jo,” Butler responded."
Butler’s response almost came off as a question, as if it was silly to put Embiid and KAT against each other.
That isn’t all that surprising. Though Butler’s departure from Philly may not have been amicable for all parties involved, his departure from Minnesota was even worse. Butler forced his way out, in essence, because young players on the Timberwolves didn’t have the work ethic that Butler wanted.
Butler opened the 2018-19 season with an infamous practice in which he tore his teammates up, playing with the reserve unit so as to prove to the youthful first unit that they needed to work harder.
Elton Brand and the Sixers would land Butler in a trade that year, getting him out of Minnesota. They gave Dario Saric and Robert Covington up in that trade.
According to some tellings of the infamous practice, Butler went at Towns directly and specifically.
"“At one point, Butler found himself guarding Towns in the post. After Towns received the entry pass, Butler yelled, “He can’t do [expletive] against me!” Towns ended up passing the ball out, sources said."
Embiid and Butler have remained close despite his departure to an Eastern Conference competitor. They’ve played nice, especially on social media, fueling the fantastical minds of trade machine moguls. Should Embiid ever grow frustrated enough with the Sixers organization to request a trade, best believe Heat fans will be clamoring for Pat Riley to land Embiid to re-pair him with Butler.