Jacari McRae | September 19th, 2019
For the past three seasons, we’ve heard Jimmy Butler get called anything but a great leader. The national media painted Butler as a cancer to teammates, particularly younger players. However, New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick told Zach Lowe on his podcast that he doesn’t buy that narrative. Despite playing with Butler for less than one full season with the Philadelphia 76ers, the veteran guard had plenty of time to learn about Butler as a teammate.
Transcribed by Kevin Kinkead of Crossing Broad:
“I love Jimmy and would play with Jimmy again,” said Redick. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play basketball, but if there was ever an opportunity to link up with him again, I’d be happy to jump on board with that. He is, I think, in the upper tier of two-way players and really in the upper tier of offensive players, period.
“I talk with my NBA buddies whether they are front office guys, former players, we talk about team building all the time. We always put our GM hats on. I do think when you’re just throwing pieces together in the middle of the season that there are growing pains, specifically on the basketball side of things. The personnel and pieces have to fit, and if there were any growing pains that’s essentially what it boiled down to. The narrative about Jimmy being a bad guy, I just don’t buy it. It’s not true.”
Butler plays hard on both sides of the ball and always expects his teammates to do the same. If he feels a teammate is slacking, he’s not afraid of confronting them about it. And that can at times rub some players the wrong way, especially younger players. But veterans, like J.J. Redick, understand what Butler is about.
Butler signed with the Miami Heat this summer through a sign and trade deal with Philadelphia. The four-time all-star averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season with both the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Heat are expecting Butler to lead them back to the playoffs after missing the postseason last season.
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