The Philadelphia 76ers have instructed Matisse Thybulle to work on his offensive game this summer. The defensive stopper has a bright future if he can develop a consistent three-point shot and shed the “one-way player” label.
Thybulle said he’s committed to locking himself in the gym and improving his jumper, an expectation shared by head coach Doc Rivers and president Daryl Morey. But, what if the Sixers were presented with a mind-blowing trade offer for the 6-foot-5 wing?
The team is desperate for draft picks after sending two first-rounders – an unprotected one in 2022 and a protected one in 2027 – to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden. Yes, Thybulle could be on the move if the price is right and one Eastern Conference rival could be a “strong suitor.”
According to Heavy’s Sean Deveney, Chicago Bulls GM Marc Eversley has a “strong belief” in Thybulle stemming from his time in the Sixers’ front office. He was instrumental in getting Philly to draft him in 2019, leading to league sources connecting the dots on a potential Sixers-Bulls trade, with a third team (see: Portland Trail Blazers) likely needed to jump in.
Here is what an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney about the possibility of Thybulle landing in Chicago:
The Bulls are near the tax, they would like to get off of that, get to a point where they are comfortably below and can use their full midlevel exception. So, moving Coby White but taking in a smaller amount would help. And Marc Eversley has a strong belief in Matisse, so if they can get a third team under the cap that wants Coby White, they could get something done.
Portland is probably the best candidate, but Indiana could fit, too. They just need a team that would be willing and able to add a first-round pick. Portland can do that, Indiana has Cleveland’s pick next year. But Chicago gets Thybulle and saves a little money, the Blazers get White and the Sixers create a little more room and get a first-round pick they can use elsewhere.
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Coby White Swap? Or Draft Picks?
The most logical return in a Bulls-Sixers trade involving Thybulle would be draft picks. The Sixers are looking to restock the pantry from the Harden deal, while the Bulls need to upgrade the NBA’s ninth-worst defense. Chicago owns the No. 18 pick in the 2022 draft lottery.
One name to keep an eye on is Coby White, the 22-year-old point guard who is now eligible for a contract extension. There were reports that Chicago wanted to move him at last year’s trade deadline, but injuries to Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine put those talks on hold.
Would the Sixers be interested in White over a first-round pick? Probably not. Philadelphia already has two on-the-ball guards in James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, although Maxey projects more as a two as long as Harden sticks around. Plus, White – the No. 7 overall pick from the 2019 draft – has largely underperformed over his first three seasons. He’s not an ideal fit.
Thybulle Becomes Extension-Eligible, Too
Like White, Thybulle will become extension-eligible this summer. The Sixers exercised a club option on Thybulle in 2021, one that guaranteed the fourth-year player $4.37 million for the 2022-23 campaign. That means negotiations should pick up in the coming months if the Sixers plan on keeping him around.
Which sounded like Morey’s preference when he made Thybulle off-limits at the trade deadline. Of course, the assumption being that Thybulle adds a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal this summer.
“Thybulle, I think, easily can be Defensive Player of the Year,” Morey said on February 15, then added the following on May 13: ” I think for Matisse his mission which he knows is how can he improve in ways that makes him someone who can make more of an impact in the playoffs and I think he will in the future.”