The 10 Best trades in Sacramento Kings history

Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings
Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings (Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Domantas Sabonis

In just 91 games played with the Sacramento Kings, big man Domantas Sabonis has helped to transform the direction of the franchise completely. Three may seem a bit high for someone who has just played over a single season, but that speaks to the difference that Sabonis has made.

On Feb. 8, 2022, the Sacramento Kings reached an agreement to trade rising star guard Tyrese Haliburton, sharpshooter Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for Sabonis, swingmen Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb, and a 2023 second-round pick. The trade at the time, and even by some, still was hotly contested as many saw Haliburton’s ceiling to far exceed Sabonis’.

While Haliburton has been nothing short of fantastic in Indy, it would be surprising to hear any member of Sacramento’s front office voice disappointment in what Sabonis has brought to the team.

This season, he has averaged 19.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. If the season were to end today, Sabonis would become just the fourth player in NBA history to average those stats. He’s also averaging career highs in PER (23.3), True Shooting Percentage (66.8%), Free-Throw Attempt Rate (.471), and Assist Percentage (29.7).

In his short time with the Kings, Sabonis has not only taken his own game to the next level, but he’s helped several of his teammates, most notably De’Aaron Fox. While Fox’s standard box numbers may not pop off the page compared to recent history, it’s his efficiency that truly stands out.

Fox is averaging career-best numbers in Field Goal Percentage (51.6%), Free-Throw Percentage (77.7), and True Shooting Percentage (60.3%) while enjoying the lowest Turnover Percentage of his career (10.7%). Playing alongside a big like Sabonis, who can help with facilitating the offense but without forcing him to play out of position, has certainly helped his development.

Sabonis’ contributions go beyond his own game and beyond the court. If this list were to be revisited in just a couple of years, he likely would move even further up this list, perhaps even taking the top spot.