Shortly after the Heat knocked the Sixers out of the 2021-22 NBA playoffs, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler made clear how much they appreciate each other. And they also suggested how much they’d have liked to play together for longer.

“I still don’t know how we let him go,” Embiid said. “Like I said, I’m happy for him. I won’t sit here and say I didn’t wish he was my teammate.” Butler also said postgame he still wishes they were on the same team.

It’s understandable that Embiid and the Sixers now wish they could go back in time so that Butler never left Philadelphia. But it seems that when he had chance, Embiid didn’t push hard to bring him back.

Rumor: Joel Embiid didn’t ‘insist’ Sixers to re-sign Jimmy Butler

In a long thread expanding the reasons behind Butler’s exit in 2019, Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports said that, even though he now claims that they should have never let him go, Joel Embiid didn’t do much to continue playing with him.

“In terms of Embiid: he’s said multiple times that letting Butler go was a mistake,” Weitzman wrote.But my understanding is that at the time he was not insisting the team bring Butler back. This wasn’t an example of him demanding something and the front office ignoring it.”

This suggests that Embiid, like practically everyone at the Sixers, only regretted not re-signing Butler once they saw what an immediate impact he made in South Florida. Unfortunately, they can’t go back in time. Instead, they’ll have to see him play in the Conference Finals with another team.