Could Matisse Thybulle be included in a possible Ben Simmons trade package to the Brooklyn Nets?
Multiple league sources have said that Thybulle’s name has been mentioned as part of a potential deal for James Harden ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline.
One source said Seth Curry and a first-round pick have been mentioned along with Thybulle. A person close the Sixers disputed the package centered around Simmons for Harden.
According to The Ringer founder Bill Simmons, the Nets are adamant that Curry be packaged with Simmons in a deal for Harden.
Curry, an eighth-year veteran, is the son-in-law of Sixers coach Doc Rivers. And as recently as last month, the Sixers viewed Thybulle, a second-team All-Defensive selection, as close to untouchable. One league source said the Sixers are unwilling to part ways with their young stars, Thybulle and second-year point guard Tyrese Maxey.
A source said that as of Wednesday afternoon, a deal wasn’t as close to being finalized as people think. The Nets and Sixers engaged in informal trade discussions Tuesday and, according to sources, bickered over pieces to add to a potential deal.
Could the Sixers change their mind to get Harden?
Sources have said it’s Harden or bust for the Sixers. At the root of that stance is Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s affinity for Harden from their time together with the Houston Rockets.
But the Sixers have said they’re content with waiting until this summer to move Simmons in order to keep their young standouts. The Sixers have a plan to acquire Harden in free agency this summer if need be. Sources say Harden wants to be traded to the Sixers, where he would reunite with Morey and form an elite All-Star pairing with Joel Embiid.
However, there’s no guarantee that Harden will be available next summer if the Sixers hold out.
This isn’t the first time Thybulle has been mentioned in a potential Sixers trade to acquire Harden.
Morey attempted to reunite with Harden last season, offering Simmons and Thybulle in a trade. However, the Rockets eventually traded him to the Nets, where the 2018 MVP became part a Big Three with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Sixers had traded to get Thybulle. Boston selected him for the Sixers with the 20th pick in the 2019 draft in exchange for the Sixers’ 24th pick and the 33rd overall selection in the second round. Thybulle is averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 39 games, with 24 starts this season.
The Sixers acquired Curry from the Dallas Mavericks on the night of the 2020 draft in exchange for Josh Richardson and the 36th pick. Curry is averaging career-highs of 15.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 45 games, all starts. He’s also shooting 40.0% from three-point land, which is modest by his standards.