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February 09, 2023

Sixers trade Matisse Thybulle to Portland Trailblazers, acquire Jalen McDaniels from Hornets

The Sixers are trading Matisse Thybulle to the Portland Trailblazers as part of a three-way deal with the Charlotte Hornets, a league source told PhillyVoice on Thursday afternoon. Jalen McDaniels and draft picks will come back to Philadelphia in the deal.

Philadelphia will receive Portland's 2029 second-round pick and the New York Knicks' 2024 second-round pick, the latter of which was previously owned by Charlotte, according to a source. The Sixers are also sending out a draft asset as part of the deal — Philadelphia previously owned the rights to the best 2023 second-round pick from the group of Charlotte, Atlanta, and Brooklyn, and those rights have been transferred to the Hornets, per a source. It likely means the Hornets will simply hold onto their pick this year.

(There appear to be more moving parts in this deal that are being hammered out, so standby on updates to the full package.)

Thybulle has been a divisive player in Sixers circles over the past couple of seasons, with no real consensus on his contributions internally or externally. The team was excited over his work in the offseason and Thybulle continued to make a defensive impact in a reserve role off of the bench. But concerns have persisted over his willingness and ability to make shots in a playoff setting, and the Sixers opted to swap him out for a similar player in McDaniels on a cheaper contract.

If the hope is that McDaniels provides more reliable shooting than Thybulle does, you're probably going to be left wanting. He has alternated between above-average and below-average years from deep since joining the league, and unfortunately for Philadelphia, McDaniels is in the midst of a down year from deep, making just 32.2 percent of his attempts this season. McDaniels will admittedly join a healthier offensive environment in Philadelphia, which could juice his numbers a bit, but there's some squinting to be done if the thought is that he can be a three-and-D guy.

You could also argue that McDaniels has shown more utility as a shooter than Thybulle ever has. During an excellent offensive season last season, McDaniels showed comfort as a shooter off of movement in spots, and he' offers a lot more functional ballhandling than Thybulle, which is a plus. 

The positive spin is that McDaniels is more of a true wing defender than Thybulle, standing about four inches taller and offering better resistance against the bigger wings Philadelphia might see in the playoffs. Thybulle was not drawing dead in those matchups, though the bulk of his value came in his ability to chase smaller, quicker guards around the floor, harassing them with his length at the point of attack while adding his signature brand of off-ball chaos. McDaniels doesn't have the same play-to-play upside, so his value will hinge on their ability to put together cohesive, switching lineups, which has been a challenge at times for Philly. He does offer superior rebounding compared to Thybulle, and McDaniels certainly opens up some unique lineup combinations in lineups with Embiid or Harden as a lone star.

McDaniels is a fine enough rotation player, arguably a more "reliable" player than Thybulle is on several fronts, though acquiring McDaniels at the cost of sacrificing two of the team's most valuable "expendable" assets at this deadline leaves a little something to be desire. The most noteworthy part about this deal, at least as it stands right now, is that the Sixers move under the luxury tax due to the drop in salary from Thybulle to McDaniels. Whether that holds at 3 p.m. is another story.

More to come...

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