2022 has been a tumultuous year for Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle, to put it mildly. On the plus side, Thybulle earned All-Defensive Second Team honors for the second time in his young career. He was also heavily involved in discussions around the February trade deadline, and it was considered a good bit of business by Daryl Morey when Matisse did not have to be included in the James Harden-Ben Simmons trade with Brooklyn.
The spring was not kind to Thybulle, however. It came out that Matisse was not fully vaccinated and would be ineligible for potential road games in Toronto. Fatefully, the Sixers did end up playing the Raptors in the first round, Thybulle lost his starting spot to Danny Green in order to maintain rotation continuity with his being in and out of the lineup, and the unsettled nature of his situation seemingly contributed to what became a dreadful postseason for him.
This offseason, Matisse was often involved in trade conversations, even involving speculation that he might be unloaded purely to create cap space. The Sixers themselves maintained they would not be involved in “salary dumping” moves, would only make trades to improve the roster, and were happy to have Thybulle still in the fold heading into next season. James Harden opting out and saying ‘give me whatever is left over’ certainly made that easier.
So what does the future hold for Thybulle in Philadelphia? Likely not an extension anytime soon, as detailed in a piece from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, outlining sourced information on various rookie extensions around the league:
“The Sixers actively explored the trade market for Matisse Thybulle this summer—quite the important context for the third-year forward’s extension discussions. While Thybulle guards at an All-Defense caliber, his lack of consistent shooting has provided problems for Philadelphia’s lineups around Joel Embiid. Plus, the Sixers added P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. to further their two-way depth on the wing and in the frontcourt.
There hasn’t been traction on extension conversations with Thybulle, sources said. Most extension dialogues don’t begin in earnest until summer approaches fall. But Thybulle may be the perfect case to buck the league’s recent trend of growing extension numbers. If the current trade market is an early indication of next summer’s free agency, Thybulle’s value could struggle to recover from a poor postseason showing, with his vaccination status further complicating matters. Perhaps there’s room for Thybulle to bet on himself in hopes of landing a richer deal next offseason.”
As Fischer mentions, Thybulle’s one-dimensional game has become increasingly problematic, particularly in playoff environments where teams will surgically exploit any weakness. Despite his outstanding defensive acumen, it’s unlikely the Sixers make Thybulle any long-term commitment without measurable growth on the offensive side of the ball this season. Worst case scenario, even if Thybulle does make strides and his market improves significantly by next summer, they would have the option to match offers for him as a restricted free agent.
P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. certainly help, but the Sixers aren’t exactly flush with quality wing defenders, so Matisse should have plenty of opportunities this season to exhibit advancements in his game. It will be up to him to show he’s made progress towards becoming a well-rounded player and make it an easy decision for the Sixers to keep him around long-term.