The Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings have been trade partners before. However, two seasons ago, a mid-season transaction shifted both franchises forward. Going into Friday's matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Pacers are 27-22, and the Kings are 27-19.
In their blockbuster trade, Indiana sent players Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb to Sacramento in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson. Holiday, Lamb, and Thompson are no longer on either team, but the flip of Sabonis for Haliburton and Hield changed the scope for each of these teams positively.
Despite Haliburton being hurt at the moment, he has blossomed into a premiere player for the Pacers to build around. In 33 games played in 2023-24, averaging 23.6 points a game and leading the league with 12.5 assists a game.
Haliburton has been consistent with his three-point shot, averaging between 40-41% for the majority of his career. The other prominent arrival in this trade, Buddy Hield, is shooting around 45% from the floor.
Hield has primarily been coming off the bench for the Pacers. His playing time is the lowest its been since his third season in the league, as he is averaging only 25.5 minutes a game.
At the time of the swap, Sabonis was averaging almost 19 points and 12 rebounds a game. He was shooting 58% from the floor and 32.4% from 3-point land.
This year, Sabonis is averaging 20.1 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 7.9 assists a game while boasting a 61.4 field goal percentage. These stats are solid as Sabonis ranks 1st overall in rebounding, 7th in assists, and eighth in overall field goal percentage.
He has fueled the Kings recent success, as their ended their playoff drought last year. While Indiana is in the midst of missing the playoffs four straight years in a row, Haliburton and Hield (if still with the team) look to return to the postseason.
The Pacers were able to make major noise this season by making it to the Finals of the first-ever In-Season Tournament. After going 4-0 in pool play, they upset both the Celtics and Bucks but fell short against the Kings' rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.
It is easy to see that this trade has panned out for both Indiana and Sacramento. The Pacers lost out on Sabonis but gained a perennial All-Star and franchise altering player in Haliburton. The Pacers also have Hield, who may serve as another trade piece this season.
Otherwise, he is another scoring threat as all three of these players provide an offensive punch, space the floor well, and are solid passers. All in all, this trade seems about even.