Sixers Boss Offers Cryptic Response Amid Star’s Uncertain Future

Daryl Morey Philadelphia 76ers

Getty President of basketball operations Daryl Morey.

The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the league’s best defenders in Joel Embiid.

Though he slipped a bit in 2021 after earning three All-Defense Second Team nods through his first five seasons, the former Jayhawk finished fourth in defensive win-shares last season.

In addition to Embiid’s domineering paint presence, the Sixers also boast a perimeter defensive ace in Matisse Thybulle. Last year, Thybulle finished first in the league in steals rate, nabbing 1.7 per game (4th in the league). Thybulle’s defensive brilliance was enough to see him earn a second-straight All-Defense Second Team honor. Thybule enters this season in a contract year, headed for restricted free agency if not extended by Philadelphia.

With defense like that, locking down Thybulle to a long-term contract would seem like a no-brainer. But at the Sixers’ media day on September 26, GM Daryl Morey refused to divulge any information about the status of Thybulle’s contract situation.

Morey Sheds Little Light on Contract Negotiations

At the tail end of Morey’s press conference with head coach Doc Rivers, the Sixers’ GM was asked about the status of Thybulle’s contract negotiations. Morey refused to go into any details whatsoever.

“The talks between any player and us on a contract, we keep between us and the player and the agent,” Morey said.

This summer, Thybulle’s name was thrown around in just about every single rumored Sixers trade. And it makes sense why: Thybulle is likely the most attractive trade candidate the Sixers have. Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden all have more value but are almost certainly untouchable parts of the roster.

One of the most notable trade rumors revolved around a potential Thybulle-Eric Gordon swap. The Rockets wing had a strong offensive season last year and would have likely served to bolster a Sixers bench unit that finished 27th in assists and 28th in scoring in 2021. In fact, the Sixers were so interested in landing Gordon using Thybulle that they tried to rope in a third team, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Thybulle isn’t immune to the trade speculation and chatter. And he recently opened up with Pompey on his future in Philadelphia amidst all of the noise.

Thybulle: ‘I Would Always Want to Stay in Philly’

On September 25, Thybulle discussed his hopes of staying in the City of Brotherly Love long-term, despite not having any contract guarantees.

“‘At this point, I would always want to stay in Philly,'” Thybulle told Pompey. “‘And if it’s up to me, that’s always going to be my choice.'”

But Thybulle knows basketball is a business, one that ultimately he only has so much control over. That said, he’s comfortable with where things stand between himself and the Sixers, entering the season with a clear mind.

“But considering that I’ve realized the reality of how far out of my control it is, if I do get traded or something does end up happening, I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day,” Thybulle said.

If Thybulle did depart via trade this season, it could seriously hamper Embiid’s goal of having the best defensive team in the league. Thybulle, as those stats above indicate, is a reliable defensive presence, even if his offense is still a work in progress.


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