By Peter Gleason
Sixers coach Brett Brown emphatically denies that he and Jimmy Butler are on the outs.
But that hasn’t stopped other teams from trying to wrest Butler, the Sixers newest star, away from Philly.
Opposing general managers have called the 76ers to inquire about the availability of Butler, according to a report from Bleacher Report, which cites an unidentified team source.
The 76ers are not considering and have no interest in dealing Butler, the report says.
The 29-year-old star “aggressively challenged” Brown during a film session in Portland and some within the organization considered his behavior “disrespectful,” according to a report from ESPN.
Butler, however, downplayed the incident when he met with reporters yesterday while Brown said the report was “unfair” to the forward.
“I never felt like there was any, what was the word, aggressive?” Brown said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It was two people talking. … It doesn’t mean that something that is challenging is disrespectful. … I like the dialogue.”
Butler demanded a trade away from the Timberwolves before the start of the season. The 76ers eventually acquired him in mid-November in exchange for a package centered around Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
Butler is averaging 18 points and 4.7 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per game with Philadelphia. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the season.
The 76ers will host the Wizards on tonight. They’ll enter that matchup with a 26-14 record.