Matisse Thybulle is the latest Sixers player placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. Tobias Harris was placed under the protocols on Monday and Isaiah Joe was added to the list on Thursday. The entire team was tested for the virus before Thursday’s game against the Pistons and everyone else produced a negative test.
Thybulle, whose locker is next to Joe’s, was placed in protocols for contact tracing. That could leave the Sixers will just eight available players for Saturday’s game against Chicago due to protocols, injuries and Ben Simmons‘ situation.
We have more from the Atlantic Division:
- Knicks point guard Kemba Walker has scored a total of nine points over the last two games and admits he needs to step up his play, particularly at the start of games, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Walker has shot 4-for-19 from the field in those games. “I have to get my guys going. I take ownership of that,” he said. “That’s who I can be. I have to do a better job at that. I have to be ready to start the game better.’’
- With Nerlens Noel back in action for the Knicks, he notes that there’s always a shot-blocking presence when he shares the center spot with Mitchell Robinson, Berman relays in a separate story. “Me and Mitch do similar things but we do it different ways,” Noel said. “So I bring what I bring — being aggressive on the pick-and-rolls, hedging out and getting guys uncomfortable, as well as protecting the rim. Mitch brings what he brings with his size and physicality. … We want to get to the level of having two Twin Towers back and holding down the paint.’’ Noel returned this week after recovering from knee and hamstring injuries.
- The Raptors decided to waive Sam Dekker before his $1.7MM contract became fully guaranteed on Saturday. That leaves the club $618,540 below the luxury tax, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. That has an added benefit, since tax distribution for teams below the line projects to be $13MM, Marks adds. That estimate figures to change by the end of the season as more projected taxpayers look to duck below the tax line or reduce their bills.
- During the offseason, the Raptors re-signed Khem Birch on a three-year contract and did the same with Gary Trent. Thus far, both players are living up their deals, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports writes. “I always told myself if I ever got the opportunity, I would take advantage of it,” Birch said. “So now that I got a contract, I don’t think it’s time to rest. I think it’s time to take advantage of that and also prove myself.”