The Sacramento Kings have spent the first two days of 2023 free agency making three significant moves. They re-signed Harrison Barnes, brought back Trey Lyles, and officially signed EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov. None of these contracts have been very noteworthy, the most prominent being Barnes signing a three-year deal worth $54 million.
While the Kings are focusing on retaining the core of last year’s team, many other franchises are making big moves. We have seen multiple players sign huge contracts through the first two days of free agency, including a former Sacramento Kings guard.
Tyrese Haliburton signed a five-year / $260 million extension with the Indiana Pacers.
In February of 2022, Haliburton was dealt to Indiana in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, a trade that ultimately catapulted the Sacramento Kings to their best season in 17 years.
While this trade benefited the Kings, it also boosted Haliburton’s career. Last season, the 6’5″ point guard averaged 20.7 points, 3.7 rebounds,10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game with impressive 49/40/87 shooting splits. While the Pacers had an unsuccessful season, missing the playoffs with a 35-47 record, Haliburton made the first All-Star game of his career.
This maximum contract extension for the All-Star point guard proves how valuable he is to the Pacers franchise. De’Aaron Fox is expected to get a similar extension with the Sacramento Kings next off-season, especially after an All-NBA year.
Even though Haliburton has flourished in Indiana, it is unknown whether his career would be on this same path if he stayed in Sacramento. Playing alongside De’Aaron Fox could have hurt his development, as becoming the number one option for the Pacers was possibly the best thing to happen to his career.
The 23-year-old is set as the Indiana Pacers franchise point guard, as they will continue to build around him from here on out. Three years into his career, Haliburton has 48/41/85 shooting splits, making him one of the most efficient young guards in the league.
After selecting him with the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings expected to build their franchise backcourt with him next to Fox but made the right decision to send him away in exchange for an All-NBA big man in Domantas Sabonis.