After weeks of whispers about trade rumors implicating the Sacramento Kings and a splash, GM Monte McNair finally broke the anticipation today with a trade that will send Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana in return for two-time all star Domantas Sabonis.
Here is the full trade:
Kings Receive: Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a 2027 2nd Round Pick
Pacers Receive: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson
While some Kings fans were excited to bring in a multiple-time all star, plenty were less excited, even upset, about the loss of fan favorite Tyrese Haliburton.
As for Haliburton and the rest of the league? “Stunned,” said Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN.
“I think there were a lot of teams who thought, ‘If we knew we could have gotten Tyrese Haliburton, we would’ve been really knocking at the door in Sacramento,'” he continued. “Everyone had thought, including Tyrese Haliburton, that he’d be the cornerstone for their future.”
Tyrese had shown massive upside in his season and a half in Sacramento, finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting last season, playing well in the absence of Fox, and coming off a game where he dropped a career-high 17 assists. He showed a lot of potential both on the court and in the locker room where he was turning into a vocal leader. For plenty of die hards, it’s almost as if the heart and soul of this team has been taken away.
But in order to land a two-time all star like Sabonis, it’s often times a player of Haliburton’s stock that must be ransomed, even if it shocks everyone around the league. Even with the sentimentality, surprise, and speculation surrounding Haliburton’s departure, the Kings certainly have their first all star caliber player in their prime in some time.
Another certainty is that the guard-heavy Kings traded two of their guards in order to land much needed help in the Kings front court with a young, proven player. Sabonis is currently averaging 18.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while in the midst of a team-friendly contract that has two years remaining.
The Kings didn’t just get some guy to plug-in down low, they got a force to pair alongside Fox.
In exchange for the upgrade, however, the Kings just lost their two best shooters in Haliburton and Hield. With Fox and Sabonis now leading the charge for Sacramento, McNair will need to find players to space the floor around them as neither of them are efficient long range shooters.
This deal did happen to bring in two players to add depth to the wing, though, and Holiday in particular, as a longer wing currently knocking in triples at a 38% rate, was a nice addition. While that helps, three-point shooting, further wing depth, and, of course, defense remain as points of focus going forward.
Only two games back of the 10th seed, expect this young Kings team to try to make a run for the play-in behind their new all star, but don’t expect too much. McNair still has a lot of work to do in order to structure this roster around his new one-two punch in Fox and Sabonis.
The trade was a shock to the league and to Kings fans, but there is nevertheless room for excitement in the big picture. The Kings are ostensibly choosing a direction to move in, and that direction is to continue building the team around Fox and getting him the support needed to succeed. This is a star’s league, after all, and the Kings just got themselves one.
While they just snagged a great front court talent, the deadline has still not yet arrived, so expect more to come from the Kings on this front.