But after Miami’s series-ending win over Philadelphia last night, Butler cast the harshest light on 76ers’ decision to sign-and-trade him in 2019.
As he walked into the locker room, Butler yelled, “Tobias Harris over me?!”
There are different interpretations of whether Philadelphia picked Harris over Butler, Ben Simmons over Butler or Al Horford and Josh Richardson over Butler. But Harris – who got a five-year, $180 million contract in 2019 – is the only one left on the 76ers. So, he’s the butt of the joke.
Butler, whose grudge is seeming with Philadelphia management (and coaching), obviously isn’t being kind to Harris. But Butler earned the right to talk trash and gloat by outplaying Harris – and every other 76er – in their second-round series.
Afterward, Butler and Embiid embraced on the court. Then, Butler used his walk-off interview to compliment Embiid and twist in the knife deeper into his former franchise.
Butler on his message to Embiid:
That I love him. I’m proud of him. Yes, yes, yes, I still wish I was on his team. I definitely love the Miami Heat, though, man. I’m glad that I’m here, but I’ve got so much respect respect and love for Joel Embiid.”
Embiid returned the favor in his post-game press conference. He lavished praise on Butler and the Heat the gave his own bitter quote:
I won’t sit here and say I didn’t wish he was my teammate. I still don’t know how we let him go. But I wish I could have gone to battle with him still. But it is what it is.
As far as the star teammate Embiid does have…
Since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden But that’s not who he is anymore. He’s more of a playmaker. I thought, at times, he could have been, as all of us could have been, more aggressive.
That also continues a theme for Embiid – not only demanding more from Harden, but passively-aggressively criticizing a teammate after getting eliminated in the playoffs. Is it great leadership? Probably not, though we’ll see how Harden responds. Will it get Embiid the attention he craves? Yes.
In that sense, Butler taught him well.
Though Butler has learned winning buys far more runway to flaunt.