As soon as their playoff game ended Thursday night, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat found Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers to embrace him and say goodbye. The two stars were teammates in Philadelphia during the 2018-19 season, and there was a time when Butler thought he might remain in the city longer. The 76ers had other plans, though, and that slight has stayed with Butler.
Moments after he embraced Embiid, Butler was asked what he had said.
“That I love him; I’m proud of him,” Butler said in a television interview. “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.”
The Miami Heat are glad, too.
In the three seasons since he moved south from Philadelphia, Butler has led the Heat to the Eastern Conference finals twice. The 76ers, who were on the cusp of a conference finals berth with Butler and Embiid, are still trying to figure out how to get past the second round.