Matisse Thybulle

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Bulls’ new GM Marc Eversley sees chance to do more than just restore franchise in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Marc Eversley gets a chance to help restore an iconic NBA franchise and set an example for the city’s youth.

He welcomes the opportunities.

A former Nike executive who spent the past four years in Philadelphia’s front office, Eversley was introduced as the Bulls’ general manager on Friday. He succeeds the fired Gar Forman and will work under new top executive Arturas Karnisovas.

Eversley also becomes the Bulls’ first black general manager, after spending the past two years as the 76ers’ senior vice president of player personnel.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I take pride in that. I think it’s a tremendous responsibility. I am a black man, I’m in a leadership position now in a city with so many black youths. I see this as a great opportunity. I think being visible is going to be important. And being invested is going to be important. I think this position position with the Bulls provides me with some resources to help drive some change.”

Karnisovas said “it’s our responsibility” and “it falls on our shoulders” to seek diversity. He will work with Eversley to transform a young team that expected to contend for a playoff spot. Instead, the Bulls were 11th in the Eastern Conference at 22-43 and finishing their third straight losing season when the NBA suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the front-office leadership in place, the attention turns to coach Jim Boylen. That could take awhile.

Karnisovas and Eversley haven’t arrived in Chicago, let alone met face to face with Boylen or witness a practice. Front office hirings, player development and scouting were the more immediate priority because of the limitations brought on by the pandemic.

“I’m going to do my comprehensive evaluation of every department and ensure I give the process the time it deserves,” Karnisovas said. “We’re limited right now with what we can do.”

Eversley said they “owe it everybody on staff” to meet face-to-face in Chicago and watch practices before making any moves “with respect to anybody on the staff.”

Boylen has a 39-84 record since replacing Fred Hoiberg early last season. Whatever decision the Bulls make, it will be a joint one between Karnisovas and Eversley. The two will share responsibilities when it comes to internal team matters as well as serving as the public voice of the franchise.

Eversley was with the 76ers when they drafted two-time All-Star Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016 and had a big hand in them trading up with Boston to get Matisse Thybulle at No. 20 last June. The rookie guard established himself as one of the NBA’s best young defenders this season.

The 76ers went from winning 28 games in 2016-17 to more than 50 the next two seasons. They were 39-26 when the NBA suspended play because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Canadian, Eversley spent a decade at Nike, managing company-owned retail stores in Ontario before moving to their corporate office in Oregon. He became the point person for their basketball player relationship division, then spent seven years in Toronto’s front office and three in Washington’s going to Philadelphia.

Eversley said he owes gratitude to Bryan Colangelo — his boss with the Raptors and Sixers — as well as Toronto executive Masai Ujiri, a close friend who “really introduced me to the art of scouting.”

The time at Nike taught him the value of relationships and a brand. Now, as he put it, it’s his job to help make the Bulls “cool again,” more than two decades after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen completed their second championship three-peat. The spotlight is on the dynasty with ESPN airing “The Last Dance” docuseries.

After watching Sunday’s episodes, Karnisovas felt compelled to offer Eversley the job that night rather than wait until the next morning as planned.

“I was so emotional watching it that I was thinking, ‘Why do I have to wait until Monday? Let me check if he’s up,‘” Karnisovas said. “He responds that he didn’t get a chance to watch it live, and now they’re replaying it again on ESPN. So he’s on his couch watching. It’s late. It’s around 1 a.m. Eastern time, so I’m doing the same. But now, I’m calling him to offer him the job while ‘The Last Dance’ is in the background.”

Tobias Harris posting on Instagram like the season never stopped

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Last night, Tobias Harris took to Instagram to congratulate 76ers teammate Matisse Thybulle on his career night, leading Philadelphia to a win against Atlanta.

If that’s news to you, then you haven’t been following Harris on IG. He has continued posting as if the NBA was never suspended.

It started with a post praising Joel Embiid for his play in a road win at Charlotte

Next was a post of him showing up to (or leaving?) a game and showing off his style.

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The fit hit different after a W 😎🥶😤

A post shared by Tobias Harris (@tobiasharris) on

Next up, it was Thybulle and the win against the Hawks.

It’s good to see the Sixers playing so well after struggling since the All-Star break. They are at Minnesota Monday night, where I imagine another of Harris’ teammates will have a game worth being singled out for.

Mock NBA expansion draft: Celtics, Nets, Knicks, 76ers, Raptors

Mock NBA expansion draft
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The NBA season is on hiatus. NBC Sports is not – even if we have to venture into fantasy.

We’re holding a mock NBA expansion draft. Keith Smith is setting protected lists for existing teams. Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman will run two new teams as this project culminates in an expansion draft.

Current teams can protect up to eight players. Each team must make at least one player available. If selected, restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents. Pending options can be decided before or after the expansion draft at the discretion of the option-holder. Anyone selected in the expansion draft can’t return to his prior team for one year. Players entering unrestricted free agency and players on two-way contracts are essentially ignored.

We’re unveiling protected/unprotected lists by division. Players are listed with their 2020-21 salary. Up now, the Atlantic:

Boston Celtics

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 7

Ineligible – 0

Analysis: Boston’s decisions are fairly cut and dry. Jayson Tatum, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and Robert Williams are all on their rookie-scale contracts. Jaylen Brown will be starting a four-year contract extension. Kemba Walker was just signed to a max contract. Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are good values and key rotation players.

The toughest decision was on Gordon Hayward. Carrying a salary over $34 million, the Celtics are betting he’ll go undrafted and will return to the team. Everyone else was a fairly easy decision to leave unprotected.

Brooklyn Nets

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: The Nets are keeping their big four in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. Jarrett Allen is still on his rookie-scale contract, so that’s an easy decision. With over $101 million on the books for just Durant, Irving, Dinwiddie and LeVert, Nicolas Claxton and Rodions Kurucs help bring some low-cost upside to the back-end of the roster.

DeAndre Jordan will likely go unselected, given his age and $30 million-plus owed through 2022-23. If Jordan is selected, Brooklyn can bank some potential luxury tax savings down the line. Taurean Prince was on the fence, but given his disappointing play this season, and lack of fit in a lineup featuring Durant, the Nets will take their chances he’ll be selected.

New York Knicks

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 6

Ineligible – 1

  • Maurice Harkless

Analysis: The Knicks are clearing the decks for a run at free agency this summer. The expansion draft could only help along that way. New York is protecting their young players with upside, as well as Julius Randle, last year’s big free agent addition. The Knicks are also protecting Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier. Not out of fear of losing them, but in hopes that either of the expansion teams will select a bigger salary and take it off the New York cap sheet.

Dennis Smith Jr. was the only questionable player to leave unprotected, but $5.7 million is simply too much for a player out of the rotation. The other five players aren’t part of the future in New York, so that decision was easy.

Philadelphia 76ers

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: Philadelphia’s decisions make themselves. The highly paid players are key rotation players. Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton are steals on minimum contracts. Matisse Thybulle is only entering year two of his rookie scale deal. Zhaire Smith was on the bubble, but he’s young enough, and under team control, that he’s worth protecting.

Al Horford is very unprotected. His signing simply hasn’t worked out for the Sixers. He’s a player Philadelphia is open to talking about a trade with either of the expansion teams. With an extra first-round pick, the 76ers hope to dangle it to entice a team to select Horford.

Toronto Raptors

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: The Raptors don’t have to expose any of their core rotation players in the expansion draft. Up front, Pascal Siakam just inked his contract extension, and OG Anunoby is still on his rookie scale deal. Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are all free agents. In the backcourt, Toronto can protect Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, along with undrafted find Terence Davis. And Fred VanVleet is a free agent.

The leaves just a handful of players who don’t have a role for the Raptors. Toronto could even entertain offering a second-round pick to entice either expansion team to select Stanley Johnson and take his $3.8 million off the cap/tax.

Glenn Robinson III: 76ers never explained role to me

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Glenn Robinson III said he was open to taking a discount to re-sign with the Warriors this summer.

Then, they traded him and Alec Burks to the 76ers.

Robinson, via Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders:

“Even when (Golden State) played Philly, I showed them what I could do,” Robinson told Basketball Insiders. “So to play those consistent minutes a night and perform well… that’s the most disappointing part about coming here is that — both of us (are) coming off career years where we’re looking at hopefully big numbers after the season. I know I’ve got a family to feed. So you think about all those things.

“All those things play a role, and then when you come here and your role’s not really explained or you don’t know what’s going on with the trade — it’s not like it was a trade where you come in and immediately have an impact. It’s a little different, so… this team is full of wings, full of guys who can play. So really, I don’t really understand it. But it’s a business, you’ve got to make it happen and go out and try to do your best every night.”

76ers coach Brett Brown, via NBC Sports Philadelphia:

And that is not true. With all of our players, you sit down and you go through this clearly. After All-Star break, every single one of them got a roadmap — this is your role, this is what we expect.”

“I get when you have a career year on a poor team and it’s a contract year, I understand it. I coached those years myself,” Brown said. “And so in the middle of all of it, he’s good people. He’s a good person and he’s trying to figure out what his next step is while coexisting in a team framework.

These types of issues come up all the time. A player going public often signals a more intense dispute, and that might be the case here. But it also sounds like Robinson might have just answered honestly when asked.

The 76ers have been particularly unsettled since acquiring Robinson. They benched Al Horford. Then, Ben Simmons got hurt. Then, Joel Embiid got hurt. Robinson feeling stable just isn’t a priority. Backups have to deal with the chaos.

Philadelphia uses several players at forward besides Robinson – Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Scott and Burks. The 76ers’ rotation famously mixes and matches several combinations. That makes the adjustment even rougher.

But I wonder how much this about an undefined role vs. a smaller role. After averaging 13 points and 32 minutes per game with the Warriors, Robinson is down to six points and 15 minutes per game with the 76ers.

Robinson also hasn’t played well with Philadelphia, missing all nine of his 3-pointers and not defending as well as hoped. I bet that contributes to his frustration.

The 76ers won’t use Robinson like the Golden State did. Philadelphia has too many talented players to give Robinson that large of a role. He must comes to terms with that.

But the 76ers can also do more to make him feel comfortable. Whether or not Robinson is being reasonable, managing ego is part of a coach’s job.

Matisse Thybulle’s agent releases statement on ‘ASSistant coaches’ not picking 76ers guard for Rising Stars

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Suns general manager James Jones (Devin Booker) and agent Mark Bartelstein (Bradley Beal) released statements of complaint after their players weren’t selected as All-Stars. Beal and Booker also spoke up for themselves. Beal’s fiancée, Kamiah Adams, even added her two cents.

It was a lot of fuss.

But it least it was over an All-Star berth, the NBA’s premier in-season honor – an achievement that can raise visibility and boost legacies.

Matisse Thybulle‘s agent, Eric Goodwin, released a statement about the 76ers rookie not getting selected for Rising Stars (which is voted on by assistant coaches).

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

This is obviously silly. Calling the voters “ASSistant coaches” is really leaning into the absurdity. This statement is a true work of art.

All this for Rising Stars. In Chicago. In February.

Not getting selected might have been a blessing that wasn’t even really in disguise.

Goodwin is getting mocked for this statement. But he’s extending the conversation about Thybulle and his defense. That could raise Thybulle’s profile, maybe including for All-Defense and All-Rookie. Goodwin is taking the bullets while his client gets the credit. It’s not pretty, but it is good agenting.

And for what it’s worth: Duncan Robinson, Donte DiVincenzo and Mitchell Robinson were bigger Rising Stars snubs.