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The 2022 deadline deal that sent Domantas Sabonis to the Kings and Tyrese Haliburton to the Pacers was a shocker. So far, it’s been a win-win.
The Sacramento Kings shocked the basketball world at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline, dealing breakout young guard Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for star center Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a 2027 second-round pick.
It was truly an unfathomable move for a Kings team that was still rebuilding. Trading one of your best players, a 22-year-old guard with All-NBA potential on a rookie contract and receiving no first-round picks in the deal? Granted, Sabonis was a really solid NBA player but the return seemed quite lackluster for such a special young talent like Haliburton.
Regardless, the trade has panned out nicely for both teams.
How the Tyrese Haliburton trade has worked for the Indiana Pacers
What do the Spurs, Knicks, Jazz, and Wizards all have in common? All these teams are frolicking in mediocrity and still in search of young franchise players to build around. But not Indiana, who now has the liberty of building their franchise around the 22-year-old Haliburton.
The kid is averaging a double-double this season with 19.3 points and 11.2 assists per game. He’s an efficient high-volume scorer and he’s also making a big difference at the defensive end. Haliburton could be a first-time All-Star this season and he’s giving the Pacers everything they could have hoped for as a foundational piece. But what about the other piece of the trade?
Despite the heavy contract, Buddy Hield is a valuable shooter and a deadline asset for Indiana. We heard Hield’s name mentioned over the summer in a potential deal that would have sent Hield and center Myles Turner to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook and a few first-round picks.
Regardless of whether they trade him this season or next (he’s under contract for one more year), the remarkable deal didn’t include any significant picks on Indiana’s part. However this 2022 season pans out, they will still have their first-round pick to help with their rebuild.
How the Domantas Sabonis trade has worked for the Sacramento Kings
The Kings got themselves something they haven’t had since trading Demarcus Cousins — an elite NBA center that can do multiple things very well. Sabonis has brought many things to this offense, with the most important being the pick-and-roll offense with franchise guard De’Aaron Fox.
Since Sabonis arrived, the Fox has taken his play to a whole new level, averaging 29 points per game to end the 2021 season. This year he’s averaging just over 24 and is determined to lead this team to its first postseason berth since 2006. By dumping Hield’s contract with Indiana, Sacramento gained some cap room to bring in shooters Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk to make this offense even more dynamic.
Currently, Sacramento is sitting sixth in the Western Conference at 11-9, with the west looking wide open through the first 20 games of the season. Can Sabonis and Fox lead this team to the playoffs or a play-in tournament berth?
It may still be a tough deal to swallow for the Kings, but one can only imagine how hungry these Sacramento fans are for postseason play. Sacramento had two elite guards and almost nothing else. They chose one and traded the other for a proven star in Sabonis. Even if he’s the lesser talent there was a need at center for the Kings and fits their roster construction much better.
Haliburton is an incredible piece for Indiana to build around, and so far he’s led this team to a 12-9 record, putting up All-Star numbers. The same goes for Sabonis. So far he’s averaged a double-double with 16.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Despite a seemingly lesser return for Haliburton, the deal has put both teams in ideal positions moving forward.