Hopes are high surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers as they set to start their season with a matchup against the Boston Celtics. However, things have been more uncertain for Matisse Thybulle who has heard his name swirling in trade rumors and. most recently passed his deadline for a contract extension. The two-time All-NBA defender will be a restricted free agent following the season meaning the Sixers will have a chance to match offers from other teams.
When inquiring about a potential trade of the unique player, Heavy’s Sean Deveney got some intel from an anonymous Eastern Conference Executive. As the front office personnel put it:
“I wouldn’t say they were shopping him this summer but they were willing to take offers. I think they were more looking for something big, so to include him in a package. At his salary number ($4.4 million) and with restricted free agency, the market is going to be a little tough for him, you can’t really match big numbers. Chicago is the team you hear because of his link to (Marc) Eversley, but there was nothing there the Sixers really wanted. He will probably come up again if they can package him with someone and address a problem, but they seem to like the depth that they have,” per Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.
Marc Eversley, who was noted in the quote, is currently the general manager of the Chicago Bulls. He previously worked in the Sixers’ front office and is credited for having a major role in bringing Thybulle to Philadelphia. The Washington wing was initially drafted by the Celtics in 2019, but the Sixers traded the 24th and 33rd overall picks to land him. He was rumored to have an interest in bringing him to Chicago earlier in the offseason.
Thybulle’s Trade Rumors
The financial aspect was certainly the biggest hurdle the Sixers had to clear when targeting a trade. This intel seems to contradict what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this offseason when he stated, “If you’re a GM in the NBA and Daryl Morey hasn’t called and offered you #23 and Matisse Thybulle for someone on your roster, you probably have had your phone shut off.”
The trade market seemed to cool down following the draft. The Sixers instead managed to find a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and swapped Danny Green and the 23rd pick for De’Anthony Melton. The springy young guard has made a positive impact already in the preseason and is expected to play a key rotational role this season.
It is also worth noting that by not extending Thybulle it keeps the door open for the Washington product to be dealt during the season. If the two sides had reached a long-term agreement, his contract would have been even more difficult to be moved due to falling under what is referred to as a “poison pill” provision. This has to do with the cap hit being different for this season compared to the amount moving forward and makes it more difficult for opposing teams to match. Out of the 179 players in NBA history that have gone under the poison pill restriction, only one has ever been traded (Devin Harris in 2008).
Thybulle’s Role on the Sixers
One of the driving forces of the Sixers’ search for a trade partner was due to the added depth of their roster. While Thybulle was the lone option as a perimeter defender last season, guys like Melton, P.J. Tucker, and Danuel House Jr. will each carry some of the responsibility this season. This is a testament to how much deeper the Sixers have gotten, but Thybulle looks to be the odd man out regardless.
While Thybulle’s elite defensive ability will always ensure him an NBA opportunity, this will be a make-or-break season for what his future role is. There has been a great deal of talk this offseason about his work to improve his perimeter shooting, but the results have been mixed through the preseason. If he can connect on perimeter shots at a league-average rate and be more willing as a shooter, Thybulle will be among the most elite three-and-D players in the NBA. However, as things currently stand his offensive deficiencies make it difficult for him to play for extended periods. Providing the proper spacing is a point of emphasis for the Sixers and his career 32.4% on three-point attempts does not command enough respect.
For the time being the trade market has settled down for Thybulle, however, this is something to keep an eye on throughout the season. The Sixers also enter the season with an available roster spot and want to evaluate their on-court needs before filling it. Expect Daryl Morey to be on the lookout if a team does need an upgrade in their perimeter defense, but for Thybulle to be playing like he has something to prove in every on-court opportunity he receives.