Warriors Holding Trade Talks to Acquire Sixers Defensive Ace: Report

Matisse Thybulle Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers are in an enviable spot as the trade deadline approaches. Last season, the team had a Ben Simmons-sized hole to fill in the rotation, and while adding James Harden was nice, the chemistry that we’ve seen so far this season failed to fully develop down the stretch.

Now, though, the Sixers are cooking. Despite a maddeningly disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday, the Sixers are still one of the hottest teams in the NBA. And hot teams, like the Boston Celtics, rarely face difficult decisions at the trade deadline.

But one might nonetheless be looming. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sixers defensive stud Matisse Thybulle is generating interest from the other side of the country.

“Multiple NBA sources said the Golden State Warriors have had internal discussions about Thybulle and that they do like him as a defensive stopper,” Pompey wrote. “The Sacramento Kings are also reportedly monitoring his availability. A league source confirmed the interest, saying Kings coach Mike Brown is a fan of Thybulle, who would add a defensive presence to Sacramento’s starting lineup.”

Both the Warriors and Kings could use a boost on the defensive end; Golden state currently sits 16th in the league in defense, while Sacramento is even lower at 21.

Though far from a finished product offensively, Thybulle is an excellent perimeter defender. In just under 1100 possessions, lineups featuring Thybulle are surrendering just 108.4 points per 100 possessions, which ranks in the 95th percentile of NBA lineups.

Thybulle’s Reported Sacramento Kings Interest

This isn’t the first indication that Thybulle is drawing interest from the left coast. Thybulle, for his part, has been just as speculated about as his Sixers teammate Furkan Korkmaz this season.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported on January 30 that the Sacramento Kings are monitoring Thybulle as they look for better defenders on the wing in their quest for a playoff birth.

“Sacramento is said to be monitoring the availability of Philadelphia’s Matisse Thybulle as the Kings, unexpectedly holding the West’s No. 3 seed after a league-record 16 consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, ponder the pursuit of a more defensive-minded option on the perimeter,” Stein wrote.

A year ago, the Kings were one of a handful of teams rumored to be in on Ben Simmons. Now, the Kings are mightily improved and likely see Thybulle as a potential playoff contributor. But what would the Sixers net in return?

As far as the Kings are concerned, the Sixers are likely to have little interest in what the team is selling. Sacramento is in a groove, as Stein mentioned, and likely doesn’t want to upset the apple cart too drastically.

Ditto for Golden State. If the Sixers are indeed concerned about getting under the luxury tax, then the only real player worth taking back from the Warriors is Donte Divencenzo, who is earning $4.5 million this season. Even still, the Sixers would need to throw in one more salary to get under the cap.

Milton Possible ‘Sweetener’ in Sixers Swap

In addition to Thybulle, the Sixers could look to move on from Shake Milton, who is enjoying a solid season off the bench for Philadelphia. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice named Milton as someone who the Philadelphia 76ers could trade, noting that Tyrese Maxey’s sixth man role along with Milton’s improved play this season could make him appealing to interested parties.

“An under-the-radar name to keep an eye on: Shake Milton, an unrestricted free agent after this season,” Neubeck said. “Milton has had a big bounce-back year, pairs well with basically any of their guards, and is on a dirt-cheap contract. But those are all reasons he would have some value at the deadline, combined with their desire to beef up defensive options off of the bench and the fact that Maxey has taken over the sixth-man role.

“It’d be hard to make a trade of significance with just Milton, but he’s an interesting sweetener for teams in need of bench help.”

An intriguing swap could be Milton for Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland. Hyland has been made available by the Nuggets as they look for point guard and frontcourt depth. Whether he fits with Philadelphia’s timeline is another thing; the sophomore guard is averaging 12.1 points and 3.0 assists per game as a reserve with Denver this season.

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