Ex-Sixers Starter’s Future in Philadelphia in Doubt

Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Matisse Thybulle #22 and Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers look ready to rumble this season after a slew of moves this summer revamped the roster. One focus of those roster moves was adding depth to a bench unit that finished 27th in assists and 28th in scoring last season.

So GM Daryl Morey got to work adding players like De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, and Danuel House to the second unit. And while the additions might be a boon for Philadelphia, they might spell trouble for one player: Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle’s three-season career in Philadelphia has been a maddening one so far. He’s a defensive ace — 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks last season — but hasn’t become the three-and-D star — 31.3% from deep last season — that the Sixers hoped.

That’s why Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report called out Thybulle as a Sixer with lots on the line next season. Thybulle, who started a career-high 50 games last season, needs to show more than just solid defense in order to have a future in the City of Brotherly Love.

“His disruptive defense gave the unit some bite, and his transition finishing was a big momentum burst. The problem is, once the playoffs rolled around, teams would exploit his offensive limitations and force Philly to reduce his floor time,” Buckley wrote on September 15.

Given Thybulle’s struggles when it mattered most, it’s no surprise that Thybulle’s name has been thrown around quite a bit this summer.


Thybulle Has Spent the Summer on the ‘Rumor Mill’

Because of his contract, youth, and lingering upside, Thybulle was included in just about every single potential Sixers trade this summer. That includes speculation over a Kevin Durant deal, in which both Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey would have likely been included.

But according to Buckley, even though the trade rumors have stopped swirling, Thybulle’s name still remains hot on the market.

“[Thybulle] took the fast track to the trade rumor mill shortly thereafter, and he has been there ever since. He is technically extension-eligible right now, but it’s hard to see Philly feeling any urgency to secure his future, so 2023 restricted free agency is likely in the cards. In other words, he might have tens of millions on the line this season,” Buckley explained.

Indeed, there’s been little on the contract front regarding Thybulle this summer. But if the Sixers wait around, there’s almost certainly a team out there that would offer Thybulle a contract simply for his defensive prowess.


Where Might Thybulle End up Next Season?

Given his excellent perimeter defense, Thybulle is still a strong asset. If the Sixers don’t trade him at the deadline next season (a big if), then he’ll hit restricted free agency, as Buckley noted above.

From there, the Sixers have a choice: match any offers on Thybulle or let him walk for free (or try and work out a sign-and-trade with an interested team). But will Thybulle have many suitors? Almost certainly.

Thybulle’s never posted a defensive rating lower than 108 and is one season removed from posting a 103. Granted, he had help in fellow defensive stud Ben Simmons. But that aside, Thybulle’s defense is still legit: he was named All-Defense Second Team last season without Simmons by his side.

Perhaps a team like the Houston Rockets (116.4 defensive rating in 2021-22) or Detroit Pistons (113.3) could offer Thybulle a competitive offer next summer. Both teams are young and feature plenty of scoring to take the pressure off of Thybulle. Both teams also figure to have plenty of space next summer to pry Thybulle away from Philadelphia.

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