Reports: Pacers trade Domantas Sabonis to Kings in 6-player deal

Published February 9, 2022, 9:00 AMNBA.com News Services

Indiana reportedly will receive Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson in exchange for the former All-Star forward.

The Sacramento Kings have reportedly acquired Domantas Sabonis in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson.

Indiana receives: 
* Tyrese Haliburton
* Buddy Hield
* Tristan Thompson

Sacramento receives: 
* Domantas Sabonis
* Justin Holiday
* Jeremy Lamb
* Future second-round pick (protected)

The Kings are 20-35 but just two games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 10 spot and a place in the Play-In Tournament mix. Sacramento has won two of its last three games and is gearing up for a key stretch of its season as it will have eight of its next 11 games on the road — many of which against playoff-caliber opponents.

Sabonis, a former two-time All-Star, is one of seven players in the NBA averaging more than 18 points and 10 rebounds (18.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg) this season. Indiana is just days removed from sending Caris LeVert to the Cleveland Cavaliers for future Draft picks and injured guard Ricky Rubio. Sabonis’ name was mentioned in several trade rumors on Tuesday and his move to the Western Conference struck many as a surprise.

With the Kings, Sabonis will team with star guard De’Aaron Fox and veteran forward Harrison Barnes and big man Richaun Holmes as the team tries to make the postseason for the first time since 2006. The impact of Sabonis’ game will come on the inside, where he ranks second in the league in restricted area field goals made (244), a category the Kings rank 13th in overall.

This will mark the third time in Sabonis’ six-year NBA career he has been dealt. Originally selected No. 11 overall in the 2016 draft by the Orlando Magic, he was traded with Ersan Ilyasova and Victor Oladipo on Draft night to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka. After a season with OKC, Sabonis was traded — again with Oladipo — to the Pacers for Paul George.

The additions of Holiday and Lamb give Sacramento some depth on the wings. Lamb is averaging 7.1 ppg and 2.4 rpg this season but has struggled with his shot (37.3% overall, 33.3% on 3-pointers). Holiday is having one of his best NBA seasons (11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg) and was a regular starter for the Pacers. However, he has also struggled to connect this season (41.5% overall, 37.8% on 3-pointers).

For the Pacers, their rebuild and eye toward the future continues in the wake of the LeVert trade. In adding Haliburton, Indiana gets a former All-Rookie first team guard who has taken strides forward in his game in his second NBA season. He’s averaging 14.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.4 apg and shooting 45.7% overall (41.3% on 3-pointers) while proving durable in high minutes (34.5 mpg). Per our John Schuhmann, Haliburton ranks second in the NBA in pull-up 3-point percentage (minimum 100 attempts), trailing only Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley.

Sabonis’ longtime partner in the Indiana frontcourt, Myles Turner, will also be affected by this trade. Indiana spent the past 4 1/2 seasons with the Sabonis and Turner pairing and enjoyed varying amounts of success with it. Turner has seen his name in trade chatter over the past few days, but per Wojnarowski, he seems happy about playing with Haliburton and getting the lion’s share of the Pacers’ frontcourt minutes now that Sabonis has been dealt.

Hield, a former lottery pick, has found success this season as a reserve after spending most of his career with the Kings and New Orleans Pelicans as a starter. In 49 games as a reserve in 2021-22, he’s averaging 14.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.9 apg and shooting 38.3% overall (36.1% on 3-pointers). Thompson, a defensive specialist and rebounder, is averaging 6.2 ppg and 5.4 rpg this season.

Thompson is in the final year of his contract, while Haliburton is still on his rookie deal and Hield has two years and roughly $39 million left on his contract. For Sacramento, Sabonis has $41.2 million and two years left on his contract, while Lamb is on an expiring deal and Holiday has one year left on his contract.