East rival reportedly has ‘known interest' in Thybulle trade


Matisse Thybulle was once considered a key role piece in the Sixers' future, lauded for his defense and coveted for his potential as a 3-and-D guy.

But as his offensive game has stagnated through three seasons - he shot worse from three in Year 3 than in Year 1 - the novelty has worn off a bit, and it's fair to wonder if the Sixers would like to use Thybulle in a trade to improve their two-way depth this offseason.

Exactly how much his value has dropped over the least year-plus around the leauge is unknown, but it seems at least one playoff team in the East still thinks he's worth adding to their squad.

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The Bulls reportedly have "known interest" in trading for Thybulle this offseason, according to veteran NBA reporter Sean Deveney.

Deveney spoke with sources around the league and wrote a bit more in a story at Heavy published Thursday about what could lie ahead for Thybulle, the Sixers, and Chicago:

"The Sixers could look to get off Thybulle’s contract to create some wiggle room under the luxury tax, which looms large over the team’s offseason, and one team with known interest, according to league sources, is Chicago. Bulls GM Marc Eversley has had a fondness for Thybulle going back to early in his collegiate career at Washington, and was instrumental in pushing the Sixers to acquire him in the 2019 draft.

"A deal would likely require a third team if Philadelphia’s goal is to save money under the tax, but the Bulls would be a strong suitor if Thybulle is available."

Hmm. The Bulls are an interesting suitor. Chicago had the No. 22 defensive rating in the NBA last year, a solid 10 spots behind the Sixers. If they want to compete in an East that boasts the likes of the Celtics and Heat, two defensive stalwarts, at the top of the conference, they need desperately to shore up their defense. Thybulle would indeed help there.

That said, buyer beware. While a large chunk of Thybulle's defensive impact comes from his mind-bending blocks and steals, he could still stand to improve his defensive mechanics; often he's caught jumping at obvious pump fakes, and sometimes those recovery blocks are a result of him getting beat off the first step by an attacking player.

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Between the foul trouble, the incredibly ineffective offensive game, and the fact that Thybulle is unvaccinated against COVID-19 - a problem for a team in the same conference as the Raptors - he's a risky buy at this point.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Noah Levick examined the Thybulle situation earlier this month

"Thybulle will be extension-eligible this summer and play the 2022-23 campaign under a $4.4 million fourth-year option.

"Rivers described the Sixers as “patient” with Thybulle because he’s working to progress offensively and has “marching orders” to improve his outside shooting during the offseason. Still, neither Rivers nor Morey tried to sugarcoat the difficulties for a limited offensive player like Thybulle in the playoffs. 


"It would be sensible if Morey is a lot less steadfast about keeping Thybulle a Sixer compared to this past trade deadline. Other approaches would be defensible, too. When Thybulle’s on the court, the Sixers are significantly better at forcing turnovers, playing in transition, and guarding star perimeter scorers. 

"Even after a frustrating final five weeks of Thybulle’s season, the notion that he has untapped potential shouldn’t be an impossible sell — both internally and around the NBA."

I'm not exactly sure what you'd be able to get in return, but if the goal is to turn what the Sixers might see as a depreciating asset into something of value I'd at least think about it were I Morey.

We'll see what happens.

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