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Blazers reportedly matching Matisse Thybulle’s $33 million offer from Mavs

After acquiring Matisse Thybulle from the Sixers at the trade deadline, Portland opts to match the offer the Washington product received from Dallas.

Portland Trail Blazers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Former Sixer Matisse Thybulle is staying in Portland as the Blazers have opted to match the $33M offer sheet the restricted free agent received from the Dallas Mavericks, Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Last NBA Trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers traded Thybulle and the No. 34 pick in this past NBA Draft for Jalen McDaniels and a pair of future second-rounders.

Thybulle, a defensive specialist, never seemed to fully work his way out from Doc Rivers’ dog house after he had to miss games up in Toronto during the 2022 playoffs due to vaccination status.

McDaniels, coming over from Charlotte, was billed as more of a two-way player by Daryl Morey last trade deadline, but despite showing flashes, the forward couldn’t crack Rivers’ final playoff rotation.

Now, McDaniels is a Toronto Raptor, having recently agreed to a two-year $9.3M offer from Masai Ujiri and co. The Sixers declining to match or top an offer that amounts to basically $4.6M per year is a bit of a head scratcher, leading some fans to call the trade into question.

Did they feel McDaniels wasn’t worth that low cost? Even that No. 34 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft might have been worth keeping for a shot at a low-cost, potential contributor, no?

It’s important to keep in mind that the Sixers main goal of that deal may have simply been to duck the luxury tax; a stated goal of the team’s we heard reported more and more as the deadline neared. At the time, we assumed the team was looking to reset the tax penalties ahead of potential big-time offers for Tyrese Maxey and James Harden.

But as it stands today, presenting no long-term offer to Harden (who has since opted in to the final year of his now expiring deal), having not yet traded Tobias Harris’ expiring contract, and apparently not planning to extend Tyrese Maxey this offseason, maybe the Sixers are really valuing future financial flexibility in the end?

As for Thybulle, perhaps feeling free from having to share so many of his minutes in Doc’s all-bench lineups he was often a staple of in Philadelphia last season, he went on to shoot 38.8 percent from distance in a Blazers uniform. It’s yet to be seen if his improvements (he never shot better than 35.7 percent as a Sixer in 3.5 seasons) can last, but the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers were both willing to bet $33M over three years that he was worth roughly the cost of a non-tax payer’s MLE on an annual basis.

Thybulle, 26, was the Celtics’ 20th overall pick in the 2019 draft. The Sixers traded up for him as Elton Brand, a collaborative GM at the time, preferred the two-time All-NBA Defensive Second-Teamer to names like Brandon Clarke and Grant Williams.

It makes sense that the Mavericks were looking to bolster their defensive core around Luka Doncic. As for the Blazers, it’s possible they felt parting with Dame would open up some room to splurge on a premier wing stopper, making life a bit easier on their young core of Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson.

According to ESPN’s Wojnarowski:

“The ($33m) deal includes an $11.5 million player option in the third year, sources said.

Thybulle signed the offer sheet on Thursday and Portland officials made a decision within an hour to match the sheet and retain him, sources said.”

Woj added it only took Portland one hour to decide to match.

The Sixers (who would have had Thybulle’s matching rights had they kept him) may not have opted to match such a seemingly large offer, anyway.

But then again, they may never have had to. Playing in Philly, Thybulle may not have put on tape the type of shooting that caught the Mavericks or Blazers attention; that at least suggested he could become just enough of a two-way player to keep defenses honest moving forwards.

From the deal, the Sixers still possess a 2024 second-round pick from the New York Knicks and a Blazers 2029 second-rounder. And they were able to successfully reset those luxury repeater tax penalties.

My understanding is that Thybulle cannot be traded now until Jan. 15, 2024, which means it’s unlikely he’d be involved in any Damian Lillard megatrade.

The trade does not look like a win from the Sixers’ standpoint, particularly when you factor in what they might have been able to acquire for Thybulle at previous points throughout his young career. It seems like they probably missed the optimal trade window and wound up selling low.

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