Report: Matisse Thybulle ‘desperately’ wanted to join Dallas Mavericks

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes NBA free agency doesn’t go the way someone wants it to, which reportedly was the case for Matisse Thybulle, who “desperately” wanted to join the Dallas Mavericks but is staying with the Portland Trail Blazers instead.

Thybulle did what he could to get to Dallas, signing a three-year, $33 million offer sheet to join the Mavericks, but with him being a restricted free agent, the Trail Blazers had an opportunity to match. They ended up doing just that.

“The vibe I’ve gotten is that Thybulle really did want to end up with Dallas,” NBA insider Marc Stein said on his podcast with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. “This is something Thybulle’s been wanting even before this summer. Dallas has been talked about as a potential destination. The Mavericks have explored in the past pathways to trade for Thybulle.”

Haynes then added his own bit of information.

“Matisse desperately wanted to be a member of the Dallas Mavericks,” he said.

The 26-year-old played just 22 games for Portland last season after arriving in a midseason trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Known primarily for his defense, Thybulle’s scoring average did jump to 7.4 points per game, and his minutes more than doubled with the Trail Blazers compared to his stats in 49 games with the 76ers (2.7 points in 12.1 minutes per contest).

Thybulle has been named All-Defensive Second Team twice, and the Trail Blazers and Mavericks maybe see some offensive potential in the former first-round draft pick and did what they could to sign him.

He was selected by the Boston Celtics at No. 20 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft and traded to Philadelphia, where he played his first three-plus NBA seasons. In fact, when trade rumors developed prior to the 2022-23 NBA season, Thybulle said he wanted to play his entire career for the 76ers.

The Mavericks obviously had plans other than Thybulle this offseason and agreed to acquire Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics in a sign-and-trade, with Dallas sending Reggie Bullock to the San Antonio Spurs in the deal. Williams, who ironically was taken two picks after Thybulle in the 2019 draft, reportedly is getting a four-year, $53 million contract.

But the biggest move Dallas made this offseason was re-signing Kyrie Irving with a three-year, $126 million contract. Irving reportedly worked very hard to gain the trust of teammate Luka Doncic, who pushed for him to return, and the star duo will work on meshing well for maximum impact.

Portland, for its part, is trying to find a suitable partner after Damian Lillard’s trade request, but is at least assured that Thybulle will be on the roster this season.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.