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Kings interested in trading for Sixers' Matisse Thybulle?

Kings interested in trading for Sixers' Matisse Thybulle?

After getting off to a 28-21 start and seeming poised to end their 16-season playoff drought, the third-seeded Sacramento Kings are a buyer as the 2023 NBA trade deadline approaches. 

The Kings are looking to add "a more defensive-minded option on the perimeter" and they are "monitoring the availability of Philadelphia's Matisse Thybulle," according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

It makes sense that Sacramento is looking to bolster their defense with a trade. The Kings have the NBA's second-best offense (scoring 115.3 points per 100 possessions), but their defense has struggled and currently ranks 24th in the league (allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions).

Thybulle has developed a reputation as one of the game's best perimeter defenders. In each of the last two seasons, Thybulle was selected to the All-Defensive Second Team.

Last season, the 25-year-old led the NBA in steal percentage (3.4%) while ranking third in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (+3.3) and fourth in steals per game (1.7). 

Now, in his fourth season with the 76ers, Thybulle is playing a career-low 12.1 minutes per game. He has appeared in 45 games (including six starts), averaging just 2.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals, while shooting 43.5% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range and 70.0% from the free-throw line. In his six starts, he averaged 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 threes on .545/.533/.500 shooting splits.

Looking at Thybulle's per-36 stats this season, his numbers are very similar to his production over the last three seasons: 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 1.3 threes and 0.9 blocks. 

Thybulle is on a bargain contract, earning just $4,379,526. This offseason, he'll become a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of $6,275,861. If the 76ers plan to let him walk in free agency or think he'll be too expensive to keep, perhaps it makes sense to deal him now and get something in return for him.

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