Indiana Pacers: Ranking the 5 best trades in franchise history

Chris Mullin (Credit: JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Mullin (Credit: JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images) /
3 of 5
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

3. The Indiana Pacers turn a disgruntled star into two future All-Stars

Before the arrival of Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, the Indiana Pacers were in a precarious spot. Rumors had been floating around Paul George the entire season before, and George had formally asked for a trade in 2017. This left the small-market team in a rough position. How would they turn their biggest asset, who the whole league knew wanted out, into future value? As a Pacers fan, it felt like the Pacers were aimed to get pennies on the dollar.

However, there were a few underperforming lottery picks out in Oklahoma City that were flying under the radar for most casual fans. Victor Oladipo was on his second stop, after having been drafted and traded from the Orlando Magic. Domantas Sabonis was just off his rookie season, where he had largely been utilized as a shooter rather than the skills his NBA father had shown. However, the Pacers brass must have seen something because Paul George was ultimately traded to the Thunder for both Oladipo and Sabonis.

At the time, many fans felt that this wasn’t a great return. But ultimately, it ended up being one of the best trades the Pacers have ever made. Both Oladipo and Sabonis went on to make multiple All-Star teams. While the teams never had phenomenal success in the playoffs, there were constantly competitive which was much more than most Pacers fans had been hoping for after the departure of George.

Ultimately, both were traded away, Oladipo to Houston after some injuries began to derail his time in Indiana, and Sabonis most recently to the Sacramento Kings for up-and-coming star Tyrese Haliburton.