Kings Shift to Higher Gear With Sabonis



That was my initial reaction when I first saw the news that the Sacramento Kings were trading Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and the Pacers’ 2023 second-round draft pick (31-55 protected).  In other words, forget the draft pick.

It was no secret that there were no untouchables on the Kings roster.  But Haliburton?  If anybody was going to be a King for life, it was Tyrese.  Fans were in love, so it was tough to see him traded.

So why trade Haliburton?  Because to get something, you have to give up something.

Kings General Manager Monte McNair has said the Kings are focused on winning now rather than doing a complete rebuild.  The Kings’ goal has been to make the playoffs.  This trade is in line with that goal.

The Kings traded from their point-guard depth to bring in a two-time all-star in Sabonis, who is apparently happy to be coming to Sacramento, according to Kings broadcaster Mark Jones.

The two other players the Kings acquired, Lamb and Holiday, are both veterans.  They could prove to be good assets as the Kings make a run for the play-in tournament.  Holiday, who has another year on his contract, could fill Hield’s role as a three-point shooter with improved defense.

With this trade, the Kings are giving the keys 100% to De’Aaron Fox.  Sabonis will be the best player Fox has played with since coming into the NBA.

Fox returned to the Kings’ lineup Tuesday night after missing eight games with ankle soreness and showed he is still “the head of the snake”.

Fox ended with 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists.  He shot 11-22 from the field, including 4-6 on three pointers.

The Kings may not be done.  They still could make another trade or two.  Richaun Holmes, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley could also be on the move.

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After losing to Minnesota Tuesday night, the Kings are now 20-36.  They are three games out of the tenth and final play-in spot.  New Orleans, which sits tenth in the West right now, strengthened themselves with the acquisition of C.J. McCollum.

The Kings only have 26 games remaining.  It may be too late, but it looks like they are going to chase that play-in spot.  More important, though, the Kings hopefully have made themselves better for the long haul.

A top-five draft pick sure would be nice too.

About Dave Andrade

Sports Director, KRCR-TV Redding 1968-81; Shasta College football & basketball play-by-play; marketing rep; retired, but still doing a daily sports report & commentary for KKXS 96.1 FM, Redding; contributor at Kings Lead

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