Jimmy Butler Sixers

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

MacMullan: Jimmy Butler on 'thin ice' in Philly

Andrew Porter
January 24, 2019 - 12:58 pm
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"As one member of the Sixers organization noted, 'If you want to get paid, try keeping quiet.'"

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That is what reporter Jackie MacMullan wrote in an ESPN.com piece on January 18th after spending time in Philadelphia speaking with Butler and people in the Sixers' organization. 

In this week's episode of The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe, MacMullan expanded on what she learned about Butler and the Sixers. 

"I think he's on thin ice, Zach," MacMullan said of Butler. "I think he's on thin ice. And I think he's a very talented player and no one has ever called him soft either, he's a very tough player. On paper, he would be exactly what you'd want on a team. He's not a selfish player, I would never say that about him. He defends, boy does he defend. He gets at it. He makes good decisions on the offensive end of the floor. I don't know him well enough to know, is it real or is it bravado—this whole idea that I'm going to take everyone on. 

"I can tell you, having spent a couple of days in Philadelphia, they don't love it."

The tricky part of the equation for the Sixers—who acquired the 29-year-old all-star on November 12th for two key affordable assets in Dario Saric and Robert Covington—is Butler will almost certainly decline his 2019-20 player option and become an unrestricted free-agent this summer seeking a max five-year contract. 

"I've already said that I don't think he's getting the full five year max from them...Now, I think it'll be very close," Lowe said. "It's gonna be like (Nikola) Jokic. Jokic didn't quite get the max, he got a tiny bit less than the max."

"I would take it a step further—are (the Sixers) sure they want him?" MacMullan asked. 

"Well they went in eyes wide open," said Lowe. "They do a lot of deep intel. They knew all the stories, they heard everything, but it's another thing to live it."

MacMullan also talked about the importance of Joel Embiid in this equation and pretty much said Embiid will get what he wants. 

"Joel Embiid is the most important person on that franchise, it's not even close," MacMullan explained. "He's got the ears of the owners. If Joel Embiid decides Jimmy Butler is too much trouble—and I'm not saying that's what he thinks right now, I'm not saying that at all. But if it comes to that, Jimmy Butler is not winning."

"They're the most fascinating chemistry experiment in the league," said Lowe. 

Listen to the full podcast here.