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Joel Embiid on 'Brother Forever' Jimmy Butler: 76ers 'Lost a Big Piece'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) and center Joel Embiid (21) talk during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. The 76ers won 112-108. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers are a title favorite going into 2019-20, but Joel Embiid admitted Thursday that Jimmy Butler's departure in free agency could be significant.

"We lost a big piece in Jimmy," Embiid said in an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols on The Jump. "He did a lot of great things for us."

Butler joined the Miami Heat this offseason on a four-year, $140.8 million deal, leaving the 76ers after only 55 regular-season games. While his 18.2 points per game with the team was his lowest since his 2013-14 season with the Chicago Bulls, Butler provided a lot of help on both ends and was especially valuable with his clutch shots late.

"When it was the fourth quarter, we knew the ball was gonna be in either me or Jimmy's hands," Embiid added.

The four-time All-Star led the Sixers with 22 points per game in the seven-game series against the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors.

Meanwhile, Butler also made an impact on Embiid off the court in his short time with the organization.

"That’s my brother forever," the center said. "I wish he was on the team."

Philadelphia still has plenty of other talent on the roster between Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford and Tobias Harris, among others. However, the Sixers will feel Butler's absence heading into the upcoming season.

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