Haliburton Will Forever Have Kings’ Hearts


We as humans are emotional creatures.

We can’t help it. The brain digests data through the limbic system first before it is analyzed through the frontal lobe.

Like math, it’s the order of operations.

We all had same order of processing when the news broke that Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson were to be traded for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday.

How We’re Digesting the News

First you feel, then you think.

The reaction to this news has been incredibly emotional and it only takes a slight empathetic awareness to see why. Haliburton was an absolute steal in the draft, he has been steadily improving throughout his young career, and — most critically — he saw the dysfunction in Sacramento and took personal ownership over his role in exorcising the Kings’ old demons.

These comments are only a few weeks old.

He very recently reiterated his intention to help turn the corner after a decade and a half of Kangz behavior. He didn’t shy from the elephant in the room; the truth of his mission and its enormity. Pulling this organization from the darkest depths and all the baggage that this stretch of misery entails. Fans were going to love him out of the gate for this.

The fact that he followed up this language with play on the court that showed clear potential that Ty might actually be able to follow through with his vision, gave the fan base more; a legitimate hope for the future.

If an observer were to be a cold processing computer, then they might note that the Kings received a two-time All-Star in the trade where they did not give up a previously voted All-Star. And perhaps that calculator would think that the Kings walk away with the individual who is currently the best player in the trade, in Domantas Sabonis.

A sentiment that others have echoed.

if you spin the logic right, and ignore some key details surrounding potential yet to be fully achieved but currently unfolding, the Kings won the trade straight up no question. The response from the fans, media and NBA insiders is proof that things are not so clear-cut.

More Than One Trigger Pulled

Before we go further, just a glimpse of the emotional chaos generated by this move:

Kings fans may be following what is currently the actual most dysfunctional franchise in all of professional sports.

Certainly some personal bias is seeping through here. But if you lay out the ticker tape of all the terrible decisions that various members of the organization have made throughout the years, one is faced with a formidable candidate for such an all-time worst list.

Seemingly every decision on every level for so long. The bad drafting. Key firings, giving players, coaches and managers far too little time to develop (Dear Michael Malone, I miss you. There’s an alternate universe where you got the whole Cousins thing to work).

To dig into all of it would be a book, not an article.

The people that have any emotional attachment to the success of the franchise are at this point clearly under the influence of Stockholm Syndrome. I too am one such captive fan, and I too felt this trade before I calculated it. Tyrese had a smile on his face while taking on an impossible role of trying to return Sac to relevance– to lose him is to lose a high potential with a ceiling undefined.

Yet, here we are. The ink is dry. The deal is final.

Why it happened and where it goes from here are as of yet unknown.

Gotta Give Something To Get Something

Doesn’t take a fine tooth comb through the Kings’ roster to see it was unbalanced. A million, billion guards and centers and a big ole gaping hole on the wings. Harrison Barnes is a steadying force, but has cooled down from his hot start to the season. Moe Harkless has been looking much more comfortable and has been an impact on the court as of late, but there are still some serious question marks as the team trudges on to 22-37.

Monte McNair made a choice to make a change. Who can blame him? This team woefully under-performed with the group whose sum is clearly lesser then the parts that make it up. The vibes were off and everyone could see it.

Something needed to happen. Sabonis has enough talent to make this move potentially work out for the best. But undoubtedly the final outcome of this trade is way up in the air– far too high for us to speculate the trajectory with any sort of accuracy.

There are questions on the fit of a Sabonis-De’Aaron Fox pairing. Who’s gonna shoot the threes? Is there room for both to bloom in the paint?

But there were a hell of a lot more questions when it came to why the Kings couldn’t put their money where their mouth was and make it work after so long of saying all the right things about how they could.

So again, here we are.

Is this going to work?

I gotta think about it.

About Brad Bates

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