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Sixers Pushed to Part Ways With ‘Offensive Non-Factor’ in Trade, Avoid Luxury-Tax

The Philadelphia 76ers have climbed to second in the Eastern Conference by going 18-4 in their last 22 games. This recent run has revitalized the Sixers’ postseason hopes and elevated them into the championship-contending category. With the Joel Embiid and James Harden duo showing the growth in chemistry that was hoped, everyone has eyes on what the Sixers’ final roster moves will be.

In a recent article by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Sixers were listed as sellers ahead of the looming February 9th deadline. Matisse Thybulle was the most likely name brought up with their dance around the luxury tax notably put. As was written:

“Skirting the tax instead looms as a primary focus. The Sixers are around $1.1 million above the line. This isn’t why I’m suggesting they sell. I don’t care about saving team governors Josh Harris and David Blitzer money.

This is more about turning Matisse Thybulle into something, anything, before he hits restricted free agency and they’re compelled to pony up any money, at all, for someone who doesn’t forecast as a core member of the nucleus. Indeed, his on-off splits this year are wildly positive. Don’t let them fool you.

Thybulle remains an offensive non-factor with an inflated defensive reputation who doesn’t fit well in the half-court for a team built around Embiid, and who won’t populate any of Philly’s most important playoff lineups. Moving him is just smart asset allocation. If the Sixers happen to sidestep the tax in the process, then so be it,” per Dan Favale of Bleacher Report.

Sixers Luxury Tax Situation

As things currently stand the Sixers sit $1.17 million above the luxury tax line. This is a cost-controlling effort by the NBA to even the playing field for teams with wealthier owners. Due to the $1.50 for every dollar over the cap they will be required to pay, the Sixers are currently looking down the barrel of a $1.77 million luxury tax bill.

While you won’t hear any fans itching to protect the pockets of Josh Harris and his $6.1 billion net worth, there is also a repeaters tax which would cost the Sixers more in the long run. This nearly doubles the yearly rate and is the reason why the Golden State Warriors find themselves with a $170 million luxury tax bill despite being just over $39 million above the luxury tax line this season.

With an available roster spot and narrowly above the luxury tax margin, there are plenty of indicators that the Sixers will be active ahead of the deadline.

Matisse Thybulle is now the first player ever to have blocked 2 Steph Curry 3-point attempts in the same game @ESPNStatsInfo

pic.twitter.com/kfHcVws4fz

— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) December 12, 2021

The Matisse Thybulle Conundrum

At the heart of these trade talks will be the Sixers’ two-time All-NBA Defense Second-Team member- Matisse Thybulle. The Washington product was unable to reach an extension with the franchise this offseason and will be a restricted free agent at the year’s conclusion.

He is one of the more unique players across the NBA. With elite defensive instincts and the ability to produce eye-popping plays on this end of the court, there will always be a place in the league for Thybulle. However, the frustrations over a player failing to develop on the offensive end is a battle Sixers fans are tired of fighting.

Matisse Thybulle went 1/6 fg tonight. This was the 1. pic.twitter.com/4A45tEhyoA

— TooMuchHoops (Brad) (@Too_Much_Hoops) April 26, 2022

Thybulle has played a career-low 12.1 minutes per game this season, averaging just 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds. His three-point percentage has grown to 30.2% on the season after a brutal start to the year, but he still leaves plenty to be desired on the offensive end. He is a bit of a statistical anomaly as he holds some impressive on/off splits and the Sixers are 10-0 in games where he plays 20 minutes or more. However, the eye test has not quite matched this.

With spacing always being the name of the game surrounding Embiid, this has prevented Thybulle from getting a bigger role. He would surely be a cleaner fit on other NBA teams and at just 25 years old, there will be a team willing to take a chance. As the Sixers search for their missing piece, expect Thybulle to be a popular name to be brought up in trade talks.

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