Joel Embiid has remained eerily quiet this offseason as trade rumors envelop the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been watching the Tokyo Olympics with a rooting interest and threw his support behind one Australian teammate on Saturday. Maybe not the one you think.
Matisse Thybulle totaled 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals in 30 minutes during Australia’s 107-93 win over Slovenia to take home the bronze medal. The performance capped a dominating Olympic run for Thybulle who finished 12th in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2021.
He averaged 7.8 points, 2.5 assists, 3.0 steals, 3.3 rebounds per game for the Boomers while showing his usual brand of suffocating defense. After Friday night’s bronze medal win, Embiid proclaimed the 24-year-old “elite” and that prompted everyone on social to believe Thybulle was now untouchable in trade talks.
Remember, he had been heavily mentioned in packages to send Ben Simmons — another Aussie star on the Sixers — on a one-way ticket to Golden State or whichever other team is willing to match the Sixers’ “preposterous” asking price. Scratch that. It seems as if Embiid wants Thybulle to return next season.
“When you got Matisse in the game, that’s our best defense,” Embiid told reporters after a February win over Houston. “I think he has the potential to be the best defender in the league. Just the way he moves and the way he played on defense, and he’s got great hands.”