The Sacramento Kings acquired a really good player when they landed Domantas Sabonis from the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. The problem is, they gave up a ton to get Sabonis and trading for him makes no sense since they are nowhere near competing for a title. It was a win-now move for a franchise stuck going in reverse.
The Kings acquired Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and a second-round pick in the 2027 NBA draft. For that package they sent Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson. That's a lot for a guy with two years left on his current contract.
Sabonis is a stud. This season he's averaging 18.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 34.7 minutes per game. That rebounding average ranks fourth in the NBA, and his PER (22.94) ranks 14th and is a career-high. His true shooting percentage (64.9) is also a career mark.
Pairing Sabonis with De'Aaron Fox seems like a great idea, but can the Kings actually do anything with that duo and not much else around them? There's no reason to believe the franchise can contend for a title with its current group, and now they've got two seasons before Sabonis leaves.
Meanwhile, Haliburton looks like a potential star. The 21-year-old was the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and has steadily improved during his two seasons in the league. A 6-foot-5 point guard who hits 41.3 percent from beyond the arc, he's also averaging 14.3 points, 7.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 34.5 minutes per game. All of those numbers are career-highs.
Meanwhile, Hield is likely to be flipped by the Pacers for more assets, while Thompson is likely to be waived.
The Kings are currently 20-35 and will almost certainly miss the playoffs. The smart move would have been to move off De'Aaron Fox's contract, move Hield for assets, stockpile draft picks and build around Haliburton, who is essentially under team control for seven more seasons. Instead they dumped all of that for two years of Sabonis.
The deal made no sense for a Sacramento team that is nowhere near contention.