The Philadelphia 76ers are 10-3 since they made the blockbuster trade to acquire Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves a month ago. Despite their winning ways, however, everything is not OK in Philly. That's because franchise superstar Joel Embiid is not happy.
Embiid didn't play in the Sixers' win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night due to rest, but his issue isn't with being held out. According to the man himself, he's frustrated with his role since the Butler trade. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Embiid voiced frustration with the way head coach Brett Brown is using him on offense, which he feels includes too much time on the perimeter.
"I haven't been myself lately," Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. "I think it's mainly because of the way I've been used, which is I'm being used as a spacer, I guess, a stretch five, which I'm only shooting (29) percent (from the 3-point line).
"But it seems like the past couple games, like with the way I play, our setup, (Brown) always has me starting on the perimeter ... and it just really frustrates me. My body feels great, and it's just I haven't been playing well."
While nearly everyone agreed that the Sixers' decision to trade for Butler was a worthwhile risk to take, there were wide-ranging concerns about how everything would work out. So far, there's been little trouble on the court, as their recent run of form shows. In fact, Butler already has two game-winning shots since coming over from Minnesota.
As Embiid's quotes show though, everything has apparently not been fine off the court. The big man has always been one to speak his mind, and it's not surprising to hear him vent about whatever frustrations he's feeling. But the fact that he's already publicly voicing frustrations about his role playing alongside Butler is not a great sign.
The Sixers made this trade with re-signing Butler to a long-term deal in mind, which means they hope the two will be playing together for years to come. It's going to be a tough task to keep all three of Embiid, Butler and Ben Simmons happy, but the Sixers need to smooth this problem over quickly before it spirals into something bigger.