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Report: A Matisse Thybulle-for-Jarred Vanderbilt framework could be percolating

The former first-round pick could garner the Sixers some help in the frontcourt.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

We’re all waiting to hear what Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers front office does ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s NBA trade deadline. After a few years of win-now mentality, the team is not exactly overloaded with tradeable contracts or draft assets, but there are still some potential avenues to explore.

This morning, Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer shared some of his sourced reporting on a particular deal the team might be attempting to strike:

“There’s a belief that the shooting guard [Thybulle] will be moved before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline as the team positions itself to win this season’s NBA title. The Sixers (34-18), who are third in the Eastern Conference, could replace him with a suitable backup center to help push the squad to a deep postseason run.

Multiple sources insist Utah Jazz post player Jarred Vanderbilt is a leading target in the Sixers’ quest to fortify frontcourt depth behind All-Star center Joel Embiid. The 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt is a power forward but has the ability to defend all three frontcourt positions. The Sixers are also in the market for a wing, so Vanderbilt could check two boxes for them.”

Matisse Thybulle has long been anticipated as a likely player to move at the deadline. His $4.38M salary cap figure is enough to match up with a decent amount of other players in a one-for-one deal. With restricted free agency on the horizon for him this summer, the Sixers might want to ensure they get something for Thybulle now, rather than the possibility of his heading elsewhere this offseason on a contract they don’t feel inclined to match. While Matisse is still a helpful rotation player during the regular season, his offensive limitations have made him an on-court liability during past postseasons.

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt has emerged as the apple of many Sixers fans’ eyes this deadline season. Here’s what our Paul Hudrick wrote about him a little over a week ago:

“Admittedly Vanderbilt does not fit the “traditional big” mold, but he’d be an outstanding fit on this roster.

It’s clear the Timberwolves are missing Vando’s activity this season after Minnesota dealt him to Utah as part of the Rudy Gobert trade. With the Jazz in clear rebuild mode (despite an excellent start to the season) Danny Ainge will likely listen on just about any player. There are reports that Vanderbilt can be had for the “equivalent” of a first-round pick.

Vanderbilt is a monster on the offensive glass. For his career, he’s averaged over five offensive rebounds (and over 15 total boards) per 100 possessions. He is a loose ball magnet because of his blend of athleticism, length, tenacity, and instincts. Though it’s far from a strength he’s also incorporated the three ball into his offensive mix (34.5 percent on 1.1 attempts).

Again, Vanderbilt is not a traditional big, but that could work in the Sixers’ favor. As a combo big, he could play the five where he can be a screener and roller for Harden and allow the Sixers to deploy a switch-heavy unit. If Georges Niang falters on the defensive end, you could slide Vanderbilt in next to Embiid at the four (Vanderbilt spent most of the last two seasons playing next to Karl-Anthony Towns). He’s the perfect type of role player to complement star talent.

The Sixers’ bench could use more length and athleticism. There is no shortage of that with the Vandolorian.”

With the Jazz just beginning a rebuild after trading Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert prior to the season, having bird rights on a young player with some potential for continued growth like Thybulle might be interesting for them. Pompey goes on to say that the Jazz have been seeking a first-round pick for Vanderbilt. The Sixers do have Charlotte’s second-round pick this summer, which looks set to fall in the early-30s. Some teams might even prefer that to a late first-rounder due to the differences in contract flexibility between the first and second round.

From the Sixers’ perspective, you’d be more ready to part with draft capital considering Vanderbilt is still just 23 years old himself and has an additional year on his deal next season for a manageable $4.64 million. Similar to the De’Anthony Melton swap, there’s something to be said for snagging a young-ish player via trade rather than dealing with the mystery box of the draft.

We’ll see what other rumors pop up and if this deal with the Jazz actually has legs, but count me on board with the potential move.

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