Case No. 2: Matisse Thybulle
Thybulle’s extension is a bit more complicated. While Reddish is a young, relatively unproven player with potential, the former Sixer is three years older and has a lopsided game. He’s an all-NBA defender but a minus on offense, despite his uptick in shooting percentages during his short time in Portland.
Thybulle ranks 116th in Spotrac’s valuation and drops even further when adjusted for production points per game. His defensive ability simply can’t carry his lack of offense.
At the same time, the names surrounding him on that list – Patty Mills and Kendrick Nunn, for instance – haven’t made multiple all-defensive teams. So how will Portland – and the rest of the league, for that matter – reconcile the discrepancy?
The Boston Celtics signed Robert Williams III, their own all-defensive player, to a four-year, $48 million extension that began this season. The contract has incentives for Williams, should he make more all-defense teams.
Both players are among the best at their position in the entire NBA on one end of the floor. They both also have significant flaws. While the Celtics’ big man is a more well-rounded player, he’s severely struggled with injuries. Thybulle’s flaw, however, might be even greater; even when he is on the floor, he bogs down his own team’s offensive rhythm.
Maybe a shorter, more incentive-laden deal for Thybulle is in the cards. Similar to Reddish’s, the length could come in at three years with a team option for the third, or at least a partial guarantee. Somewhere in the average of $7-8 million annually would put Thybulle in the range of Seth Curry, for example – another player who’s stellar at one thing but below average at most other things.
Unlike Reddish, though, Thybulle has proven his worth as a defensive player, which could bump his salary an extra few million.