Joel Embiid just spent another season with the Philadelphia 76ers, which resulted in an early end in the playoffs. In his career, Embiid has never made it to the Conference Finals, and it seems his wait will continue after he was eliminated by the best teammate he has had when they faced Miami.
The 2018-19 76ers team was possibly the best team with Embiid so far. Jimmy Butler was on the team alongside Tobias Harris, who was still a high-value asset in the league.
Ben Simmons was still a surging superstar, and they had J.J. Redick to add shooting to this lineup. However, their playoff dream ended with Kawhi Leonard's infamous buzzer-beater in 2019. On the two-year anniversary of that shot and his last game with Butler as a teammate, Embiid couldn't help but wonder why Butler was allowed to leave in free agency after just one season with the team.
Butler has spoken about his departure from Philly before, with him implying his straightforward nature of calling out the coaches and players wasn't flying too well with him. He also fell out with former coach Brett Brown, who was fired one season later for Doc Rivers.
Butler also didn't gel well with Simmons, with both players clashing over ball-handling responsibilities. Jimmy has excelled as a ball-handler on the Miami Heat, while Simmon's unreliability to create offense for himself made him a very tough fit on this team last season.
Neither man can realistically play with each other again, with both having long-term contracts on their current team. Butler is signed through 2026 and Embiid is signed through 2027. Not having Butler will be one of Embiid's regrets when he retires, especially if his career ends without post-season success. Meanwhile, Butler has already made the NBA Finals once and is in the Conference Finals right now, at the expense of his former team.