For what feels like the four thousandth time, we have an NBA trade deadline rumor involving some combination of the Sixers, the Kings, and Matisse Thybulle.
This time we've got buzz from veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, who is reporting on his Substack that the weirdly-good Sacramento Kings are keeping tabs on Thybulle as a potential target around the deadline.
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From Stein's Substack:
"Sacramento is said to be monitoring the availability of Philadelphia's Matisse Thybulle as the Kings, unexpectedly holding the West's No. 3 seed after a league-record 16 consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, ponder the pursuit of a more defensive-minded option on the perimeter. One source with knowledge of the Kings' thinking, meanwhile, insists that rival teams hoping for Richaun Holmes to become a buyout candidate if Sacramento can’t trade him (as mentioned here last week) are poised to be disappointed. A buyout would be complicated for both sides with two years and nearly $25 million left on Holmes' contract after this season."
A young piece with tools but a lack of a real role in the Sixers' offense, Thybulle's name has been bandied about in trade rumors more times than I'd care to recount.
The Kings being unexpectedly competitive this season is fun, and it sounds like they want to capitalize on (likely) being postseason bound. Sacramento has a bottom-10 defensive rating in the league, and the playoffs are more defense-minded than the regular season, so a move for Thybulle makes sense.
The Sixers, juggling an expensive roster and staring down the NBA's repeater tax, wouldn't mind moving off money now - especially if Thybulle returning as a (restricted) free agent isn't a sure thing.
What could the Sixers look to get back from Sacramento in return for Thybulle? He's not making a ton of money this season ($4.3 million) so the options are already limited. I don't see much upside for the Sixers in taking back a player in a straight-up swap, but perhaps they could finagle draft capital away from Sacramento in the service of future moves?
In any case, the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline is fast approaching and we'll likely start to hear more rumblings soon.