Monte McNair and the Sacramento Kings certainly made a splash as they traded for Indiana Pacers’ two-time All-Star, Domantas Sabonis. The six-year pro is in the midst of yet another impressive season averaging 18.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, and five assists per game. Sabonis (paired with De’Aaron Fox) gives the Kings an impressive one-two combo that’s ready to compete right away.
Unfortunately, the addition of Domanta Sabonis comes by trading away rising star Tyrese Haliburton. The young former King was showing legitimate improvement this season and had plenty of interest from multiple teams at the deadline. Along with Haliburton, the Kings sent out Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson while receiving Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday in addition to Sabonis.
Despite only managing 20 wins so far this season, the Kings are only two games back of the play-in game in the West. However, is this deal really about this season, though? For now, Harrison Barnes remains a King, but that could certainly change between now and 12:00 PM on Thursday. The Kings may be a Sabonis away from the play-in game, but in addition to that, or rather, more importantly, Sacramento has set themselves up for future flexibility to continue building around Fox and Sabonis.
Trading for Domantas Sabonis is about more than just this season.
While the Kings got older in this deal, Domantas Sabonis is far from over the hill; in fact, he seems to be just entering his prime. Moreover, getting off of Buddy Hield and his large contract is a huge win for Sacramento. Hield had long since given up on the team, and the Kings will instead afford his minutes to newcomers Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday. Hopefully, those two players can provide a certain sense of veteran leadership for the Kings.
The NBA trade deadline is still a day and a half away, and much can happen between now and then, but the Kings already have a solid chance at being a better team in 2022. Now the team just has to hope that Tyrese Haliburton doesn’t make them regret this deal over the next 10-plus years.