Though league sources say that Jimmy Butler has develop…

Though league sources say that Jimmy Butler has developed a good relationship with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, his reported problems with the Sixers system are real. Results aren’t everything. Even without the benefits of building chemistry during the offseason and training camp, the Sixers are outscoring teams by 8.8 points per 100 possessions with at least two of the trio on the court. Still, the internal conflict is relevant.

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It’s been three days since a report surfaced that Jimmy Butler “aggressively challenged" Brett Brown and that the dialogue between the two was “disrespectful” during a film session in Portland. Brown stated his case again Saturday that the report was “overrated” and normal dialogue between NBA player and NBA coach in 2019. Butler agreed. We’ve been talking damn near every day. Trying to figure everything out and how we can make everyone work. Not just for myself but for everybody. I’m telling you it’s a player and a coach conversation. I think that if you’ve followed me long enough, you know if I was being confrontational because I don’t think I could hide it very well.
A report published on Friday said that Butler recently challenged Brown in a disrespectful way and wants to be utilized differently in the coach's offensive scheme. Brown dismissed the report before Saturday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. "I didn't feel like any of that crossed the line," Brown said. "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."
A report published on Friday said that Butler recently challenged Brown in a disrespectful way and wants to be utilized differently in the coach's offensive scheme. Brown dismissed the report before Saturday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. "I didn't feel like any of that crossed the line," Brown said. "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."
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Jimmy Butler has aggressively challenged coach Brett Brown on his role in the offense, complicating an already tenuous chemistry among the team's Big 3 hierarchy, league sources told ESPN. Butler has been vocal in his contesting of Brown and his system, including a recent film session in Portland that some witnesses considered "disrespectful" and beyond normal player-coach discourse.
Brown has told people within the organization that he had no issues with that exchange and considered it within the confines of the relationship that he's developed with Butler, sources said. While a source close to Butler contends that his intense, direct style can come off as combative as he's trying to make clear his viewpoints, Butler's sluggish assimilation into the Sixers environment is causing some concern about his long-term viability and fit with the organization, league sources said. Nevertheless, the franchise's full focus and resources remain on making this new partnership work this season and beyond.
Brown, who signed a contract extension in the offseason, remains a popular figure with ownership and management. Around the organization, there's an urgency for Brown and his coaching staff to stabilize the situation, sources said. Ownership has been committed to making the Big 3 of Embiid, Simmons and Butler work, especially with Butler's free agency looming this summer.
Butler has expressed a desire to teammates that he hopes to play in more traditional pick-and-roll and isolation sets, rather than trying to find his place in the Sixers free-flowing offense, league sources said. In searching for answers, Butler has met privately with Brown and his coaching staff, as well as general manager Elton Brand, league sources told ESPN.
"I don't like shooting 3s," Embiid said. "I only do it because of the spacing that we have, and sometimes I have to take them. I have to be on the perimeter, just getting guys open, because of all the attention that sometimes it seems are presented to me.
"I don't like shooting 3s. I only do it because I got to make it work, but the last couple games, mainly the last two games, my mindset has been, if I'm on the perimeter, it doesn't mean that I have to shoot 3s. Even if I'm wide open, I think I had a couple of opportunities tonight and last game against the [New York] Knicks where I could've shot it, but I took one dribble and I took a midway shot.
"I mean, I wouldn't say I don't totally like [shooting them]," Embiid said. "I mean, it's cool and all that. But when you look at yourself and see how dominant you can be inside ... it doesn't matter. "I can score in so many ways. [But] it's also about just feeling comfortable. Right now, I'm not feeling comfortable being in that situation. I'm sure I'm gonna take some. I'm sure some games I'm going to take 10, some games I'm going to take 15 ... you'll see."
Williams has been more than a coach, knowing Fultz since he was 7 years old via a relationship with the family and treating him like a son or nephew. In the lead-up to the draft, Williams served as Fultz’s representation, connecting him with sponsorships from such brands as Nike, Tissot and JBL. But as things started to derail, Fultz’s mother, Ebony, and Brothers took control of the player’s off-court life. Williams said he backed off to avoid conflict, but he believes the forced separation might have affected Fultz.
Fultz is now a professional on a four-year contract worth $33 million, but close associates said Ebony still goes to great lengths to shield him. During Fultz’s first season in Philadelphia, Ebony had cameras installed inside his New Jersey home, according to several people familiar with the setup who described the indoor surveillance as unusual. The cameras have since been removed. Multiple people said Ebony has asked some who have dealt with Fultz to sign nondisclosure agreements for reasons that are unclear to them. “There’s definitely crazy [expletive] going on with the mom and how involved she is and how overprotective she is,” said a person with a close connection to Fultz. “The best possible situation is if the mom just backs off for a period of time and gives him a chance to breathe.”
“I don’t talk about it. That’s none of my business,” the center said. “I just know that he’s a great person. He comes in every day, does his job and tries to make the team better. He’s a great guy. Everybody around loves him. I love him personally, but that’s his business. I don’t want to get into the whole family thing.”
When Brett Brown surveyed the smoking wreckage of Sunday's loss in Brooklyn, he didn't take refuge in the just-one-of-those-nights explanation. There was something deeper that went wrong, something "unacceptable," according to the Sixers coach. "That is not who we are," Brown said, although the box score was actually an accurate reflection of the team's worst tendencies. He was right that it didn't portray the better angels of their nature, but he also knew it wasn't so out of character that it could be dismissed as a freak loss devoid of greater meaning.
"It's the reality of the ages of the people that we have," Brown told the media after the game, partially excusing, at least for public consumption, what happened in Barclays Center. What he said to the team privately was much harsher. "They hear me talk way deeper than what I get into with you guys. We spoke candidly," Brown said after practice Tuesday. "You weigh up your bullets throughout the course of the year and you use them. That was one of them. That game didn't sit well with me."
"We're not spiritually at a stage that's able to do that right now," Brown said. "We're figuring some stuff out." And the job of imparting that stuff is on him. "It is. I'm the head coach," Brown said. "In a very sadistic way, I like this as a coach; the pain, the reality of what is really going on. We're not jab-stepping anything. We'll own this. I'll own this."
He denied being connected to those four accounts. The problem with Colangelo’s denials, however, is that those tweets were aligned with some of the frustrations and beliefs inside the organization. According to several sources, that’s why several players believe Colangelo is linked to the tweets even if he did not directly post from the burner accounts. “I think the damage is done,” said an NBA executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I don’t know if the players can trust him. I think he lost the trust of the players unless it’s proven definitively that it wasn’t him.”
Colangelo is in Los Angeles attending agent-run workouts for NBA draft prospects this week. A league source said Colangelo was visibly shaken in a hallway as The Ringer report broke Tuesday while he was attending a BDA Sports Management workout. Along with having two first-round draft picks (10th and 26th overall), the team is preparing to make a big splash in free agency, which begins on July 1. James is the Sixers’ most sought-after target, but they are also eyeing Oklahoma City Thunder all-star Paul George, among others, according to sources.
Colangelo is in Los Angeles attending agent-run workouts for NBA draft prospects this week. A league source said Colangelo was visibly shaken in a hallway as The Ringer report broke Tuesday while he was attending a BDA Sports Management workout.
The problem with Colangelo’s denials, however, is that those tweets were aligned with some of the frustrations and beliefs inside the organization. According to several sources, that’s why several players believe Colangelo is linked to the tweets even if he did not directly post from the burner accounts.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 76ers president Bryan Colangelo has been actively reaching out to individuals mentioned in those burner accounts, insisting that he isn't responsible for those tweets, league sources tell ESPN. Sixers probe is underway in aftermath of The Ringer story.
Dan Gelston: 76ers Set to investigate the burner accounts: "An online media outlet filed a story linking multiple social media accounts to 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo. The allegations are serious and we have commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We will report the results of that investigation as soon as it is concluded."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Nevertheless, Colangelo is denying he is responsible for those tweets and many league executives seem to believe this: It is hard to fathom a GM risking his job in such a reckless manner. Many are giving him the benefit of doubt on that level alone. It just doesn’t add up. twitter.com/wojespn/status…
Keith Pompey: Things are officially a hot mess inside of the #Sixers’ organization. @Joelembiid responds to the Ringer report that Bryan Colangelo allegedly talked about via a burner account.
Alex Kennedy: Innocent until proven guilty, but The Ringer article is pretty damning. And the activity on the accounts seems to suggest it's true. At one point, he tweeted to a reporter that he should request an interview with Colangelo through the 76ers so he could tell his side of the story! Trevor Booker:‏ Yeah I’m looking at all the evidence now and it’s not looking good 🤦🏾‍♂️
Rich Nurse: Now I really want to know if Brian Colangelo was in a restuarant with @DwyaneWade & @itsgabrielleu in Beijing in 08... if he was I guess that ties the badmouthing burner account to him??? Dwyane Wade: I guess all black people do look alike 🤷🏾‍♂️ because @itsgabrielleu wasn’t at the Olympic in 08. Clearly Eric Jr lied 🤥
Bryan Colangelo: Like many of my colleagues in sports, I have used social media as a means to keep up with the news. While I have never posted anything whatsoever on social media, I have used the @Phila1234567 Twitter account referenced in this story to monitor our industry and other current events. This storyline is disturbing to me on many levels, as I am not familiar with any of the other accounts that have been brought to my attention, nor do I know who is behind them or what their motives may be in using them.
Shams Charania: In speaking to 76ers president Bryan Colangelo tonight in Los Angeles, Colangelo says he stands by his statement: No knowledge of “motives or origin.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Maybe there’s an IT person who can prove it wasn’t Bryan Colangelo, but here’s one of his biggest problems in disputing Ringer story: Those tweets reflected not only private team biz, but launched personal beefs/jealousies/frustrations that he’s shared inside and outside 76ers.
Zach Lowe: Prevailing sentiment around the league so far -- and w/in the Sixers -- is confusion and "wait and see." (And, outside the Sixers, a whole lot of snark in addition to the above stuff).

https://twitter.com/scottcwheeler/status/1001665431487336449
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid tells ESPN on Bryan Colangelo: “I talked to him and he said that he didn’t say that. He called me just to deny the story. Gotta believe him until proven otherwise. If true though, that would be really bad.”

https://twitter.com/JoelEmbiid/status/1001655821913284610

https://twitter.com/JoelEmbiid/status/1001659466478219264

https://twitter.com/KevinOConnorNBA/status/1001636463207841792
The five accounts pinpointed by the unnamed source included one that followed media members, Sixers employees, and NBA agents but never tweets (its handle is @phila1234567, and it has no account name), and four that have posted tweets or replied to other users. Of those, one was active between April 2016 and May 2017 (its account name is Eric jr, and its handle is @AlVic40117560), two were active within the past five months (HonestAbe / @Honesta34197118 and Enoughunkownsources / @Enoughunkownso1), and one was posting several times a day (Still Balling / @s_bonhams) and as recently as last week.
On February 12, while Okafor was home in Philadelphia as the team traveled, a writer for the blog The Sixers Sense named Brian Jacobs posted a highlight from then-Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Eric jr replied, seemingly off topic, “I must be nuts, I cannot sleep because I worry Jah will not pass physical exams and sent back.” The next day, Jacobs posted a prospective trade that would ship Okafor to the Pelicans for E’Twaun Moore and a pick. Eric jr responded again. “I feel it in my bones, deal was done and Jah did not pass physical,” the account wrote. “Let’s wait & see, only possibility at this point.”
One source familiar with Okafor trade negotiations between the Sixers and the New Orleans Pelicans told The Ringer that the source was not aware of any failed physical for Okafor, and that the deal fell through because Colangelo and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps could not agree on pick protections.
Storyline: Philadelphia 76ers Turmoil?
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September 22, 2021 | 11:13 pm EDT Update
The Timberwolves named executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta as their new overseer of basketball operations, making him the first person of Indian origin to run a franchise’s basketball operations. Minnesota is expected to have a full search process, but team officials are fond of Gupta and will provide him a chance in the No. 1 role, sources said.
Some of the issues were exacerbated this summer when Rosas and Gupta butted heads over Rosas’ decision to block Gupta from making a lateral move to the Houston Rockets with increased pay, sources said. Rosas said the timing of the request, coming right before the draft and free agency, made it impossible for the Timberwolves to let someone with as much proprietary knowledge of the team’s plans go to a competitor. The tension between Rosas and Gupta only grew later in August when Rosas banished Gupta from the team’s offices and granted him permission to seek employment elsewhere, according to sources. The issue was resolved in early September after ownership got involved and Gupta decided to stay.
One person who said he had no qualms with how Rosas led and thought there was a collaborative environment did say that the overall vibe in the front office was tense. Some of that, he believed, was due to the disenchantment of other members of the staff, but he also believed the pandemic played a role. “It is not a root cause, but it’s an accelerant,” the source said in August just before the staff left for vacation. “It’s not the spark that lit the flame, but it’s something that makes the flame burn hotter. We haven’t had a day off in basically two years.”
Storyline: Minnesota Timberwolves Turmoil