Report: Kings monitoring availability of 76ers’ Matisse Thybulle as trade deadline nears

Matt Slocum/AP

Kings general manager Monte McNair and Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey sat together at Golden 1 Center when Morey’s team came to Sacramento earlier this month.

Morey and McNair, who spent 13 years together in the Houston Rockets organization, looked like two old friends watching a ballgame, but maybe there was more to the conversation.

Veteran NBA insider Marc Stein of Substack reports the Kings could have interest in 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle as the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline approaches.

“Sacramento is said to be monitoring the availability of Philadelphia’s Matisse Thybulle as the Kings, unexpectedly holding the West’s No. 3 seed after a league-record 16 consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, ponder the pursuit of a more defensive-minded option on the perimeter,” Stein wrote.

Thybulle, 25 is a 6-foot-5, 201-pound guard who came out of Washington as the No. 20 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He has averaged just 4.4 points per game over four seasons with the 76ers, but he would give the Kings a bona fide defensive stopper on the perimeter.

Thybulle is in the final year of a four-year, $12.5 million rookie deal. He is making $4.4 million this season. The Kings could offer guard Terence Davis, who has a $4 million expiring contract, or center Alex Len, who has a $3.9 million expiring contract.

The Kings (28-21) are third in the Western Conference. They are 5 ½ games behind the top-seeded Denver Nuggets and 3 ½ games ahead of the 10th-place Utah Jazz as they seek to end their record 16-year playoff drought.

The Kings are No. 1 in the NBA in scoring (119.5 ppg) and No. 2 in offensive rating (117.2), but they are 21st in defensive rating (114.5) and 22nd in opponent points per game (116.5).

Kings coach Mike Brown recently said he might have to consider other options to improve his team’s perimeter defense. Thybulle would certainly give Brown another option.

Brown liked what he saw from his team in Monday’s 118-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he wasn’t nearly as pleased following a 117-110 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

“We’ve got to be able to hang our hat a little bit on the defensive end of the floor instead of thinking we’re gonna be able to outscore guys, and right now we’re not getting it done defensively,” Brown said. “So, to me, that side of the ball is impacting us more than our offense.”