Final thoughts and conclusion
Before this trade, the Pacers and Kings were in completely different situations, with the Pacers looking to remain in mediocrity with a roster of not exactly young, but not exactly old players and no real direction for the future besides being an eternal “tough-out” team while the Kings looked to continue missing the playoffs with a bunch of young and talented but underutilized players.
Since the trade, both teams' fortunes have been reversed, with the Kings finally breaking their 16-year postseason drought and the Pacers looking to break their four-year drought this upcoming postseason as they look to make it past the first round as well for the first time in 10 years.
So the question still stands: Who won the Domantas Sabonis/Tyrese Haliburton trade?
The answer is more simple than people think. This is one of the rare win-win trades in NBA history, where each team got exactly what they wanted. The Sacramento Kings traded for Sabonis with immediate improvement in mind and were rewarded with a playoff berth and a solid team for years to come, with Sabonis re-signing to stay in Sacramento until 2028.
Haliburton probably would not have blossomed into the player he is right now, having to share a backcourt with the ball-dominant Fox, who himself has seen major improvement since the trade.
As for Indiana, they made this trade with the hopes of finding some direction and got exactly that. While they were pretty bad at first, they have turned their fortunes around and currently look like one of the brightest young teams in the NBA.
Sabonis was fantastic in Indiana, but he was being asked too much as the first option on a playoff team and was traded somewhere his skill set would fit better as the second option and secondary facilitator.
As a result, the keys to the offense were given to Haliburton, which blossomed from Day 1 and keeps improving every day despite battling through injury. Myles Turner's improvement has also been something to note, as he has turned into a legitimate scorer and third option on a playoff team.
With the addition of Pascal Siakam in Indiana, the sky's the limit for this young, fun Pacers team. Hopefully, the same can be said for Sabonis and Sacramento.