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The Sabonis Trade is a win-win until proven otherwise

It's time to put this topic to rest.
By | 91 Comments | Feb 2, 2023

Nov 30, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) celebrates with guard De'Aaron Fox (5, right) during pregame introductions before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearly one year to the day since the Sacramento Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton and pieces for Domantas Sabonis and pieces. I mean no disrespect to Tristan Thompson, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, or any other chuckers who involved in that trade, but at the end of the day this was the Haliburton-for-Sabonis trade and it always will be.

From the moment the trade happened the Sacramento Kings have fought the narrative of having lost that trade. National pundits declared it one of the worst trades in NBA history, and front office malpractice. A year later, with the Kings third in the Western Conference, the Kings continue to fight this narrative. Domantas Sabonis was just named to his third NBA All-Star appearance, while Tyrese Haliburton was named (quite deservingly!) to his first.

And yet, despite this, there are still those who remain reluctant to declare this trade a win-win.

I don’t mean to single out Daman, who (despite being a Lakers fan) I consider a friend and a person who generally understands basketball. But his tweet inspired me to write about this, because it’s a common sentiment I see on Twitter and on television and hear on podcasts on a regular basis.

Haliburton is special. I don’t think any Kings fans will deny this. He was beloved here, and it was a BOLD move by Monte McNair to trade him. But I don’t understand how anyone can look at the results of the trade and see anything but a win-win.

Kings fans, for the most part (I know better than to ever declare the fan base entirely feels a single way), are happy right now. Domantas Sabonis, combined with other moves and a savvy coaching hire, has completely revolutionized the Sacramento Kings offense. The basketball IQ, the ball movement, the constant double-doubles, and the goddamn standings all show how huge Sabonis has been for this franchise. We long lamented the need for a complete culture change in Sacramento, and Sabonis has helped facilitate that change. At the time of the trade, critics dismissed Sabonis’ two previous All-Star appearances as being due to the weaker Eastern Conference. Well, Sabonis just made his third All-Star game in the West, a selection viewed as a no-brainer, to the point where it was a bit of a surprise he wasn’t named a starter.

De’Aaron Fox is having a tremendous season as well. For all the talk of “they traded the wrong guard”, Fox is being discussed tonight as a notable snub from the All-Star reserves. If voting were held today Fox would be the favorite for Clutch Player Of The Year. He’s been incredible, especially in the fourth quarter, and it is abundantly clear that Fox excels in the system built around him and Sabonis.

None of this is to take anything away from Tyrese Haliburton. Naturally a small part of me wonders if Mike Brown could have better optimized the combination of Fox and Haliburton, and I think many, many, many NBA coaches could have been more successful with that combo than Luke Walton was. But Haliburton himself has said publicly that he and Fox both excelled with the ball in their hands, and that it was hard to optimize themselves together. I don’t think either player disliked each other, but sometimes the pieces simply don’t fit. Haliburton has been amazing in Indiana, and his recent injury has highlighted just how lost the Pacers are without him. And the wounds still remain raw, so emotions will surely be high as the Kings visit the Pacers on Friday.

But if we take a step back and look at the big picture, the big difference and concern with that trade was never about the quality of players, but about the asset management aspect. Haliburton is younger, and under team control. Sabonis has one year left on his contract after this season and then is an unrestricted free agent. Sabonis could walk after next season if this trade didn’t work. That was the big concern. But as it stands right now, there’s zero reason to think Sabonis won’t happily re-sign with the Kings. When he does, he’ll be 28 years old, still in his prime, especially for a center who isn’t particularly reliant on athleticism but is more reliant on savvy, intelligence, and skill. And for this season and next, Sabonis is one of the best value contracts in the NBA.

Kings fans are happy with the trade. The Kings front office is happy with the trade. Pacers fans are happy with the trade. The Pacers front office is happy with the trade.

Until the trade goes wrong for one side or the other, this trade is the absolute definition of a win-win. It’s time to stop wasting time arguing otherwise.

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Kosta
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February 2, 2023 11:29 pm

3 time all-star

1 time all-star

3 > 1

Kings win the trade!

sethwg
February 2, 2023 11:29 pm

People always talk about how Fox and Hali could have worked, but I just don’t buy it simply because I can’t think of a single instance of a successful 2-PG system, other than CP3/Harden.

Hali is thriving because of the winning culture in Indy, but I’m not convinced he would have had the same effect on the Kings. We needed somebody from the outside, untainted by this franchise, to come fix us.

rockbottom
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February 2, 2023 11:48 pm
Reply to  sethwg

I think their winning culture was traded .

macdoogs
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February 3, 2023 1:02 am
Reply to  sethwg

Keeping hali and fox would have probably not landed us huerter and monk, who + domas I think beats out anything that pairing could have done. Domas brought a different feel to the team last year when he first got here and was running the offense.

Will always root for hali but I don’t think any side is mad at the results for all involved

TheGrantNapear
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February 3, 2023 8:48 am
Reply to  sethwg

Hali is thriving because of the winning culture in Indy

Haliburton is the winning culture, that is to say he is the one creating it. The Pacers record when he plays and doesn’t proves it.

Last edited 1 year ago by TheGrantNapear
andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 9:09 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I’d apply the inverse of that to Morant in Memphis. The team does well in his absence, but neither he nor JJJ, all-stars both, seem to be able to win games without Steven Adams.

The Grizzlies’ excellent ’21-’22 season seems to have been more about Adams’ ability to stabilize a young, inconsistent team than the acrobatics of Ja Morant.

rockbottom
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February 2, 2023 11:46 pm

A true win-win trade . In my opinion if the trade had not occurred the Pacers would have a better record than the Kings . Both teams got something they needed and did not have .

Roaddog
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February 2, 2023 11:59 pm

Am I wrong in thinking between the two of them Haliburton is the better contract over the next two years? Seems an odd thing to go on the Sabonis side of it.

macdoogs
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February 3, 2023 1:05 am
Reply to  Roaddog

Hali definitely has the better contract but someone of Domas’ caliber isn’t choosing to sign in sac before this season so that extra money is going towards the same overpaid role players who we’d sucker into signing here lol

Hopefully the cap keeps going up and we keep Domas for what he’s looking for

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 8:03 am
Reply to  Roaddog

At the time of the trade I called Hali the better value and Sabonis the better player. The same may hold true today, though to give either player a clear on-court edge over the other at this point is probably a fruitless exercise.

The idea behind a trade is to make your team better, significantly when possible. In that regard, I think that both teams can claim victory.

GFunkClassic
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February 3, 2023 12:11 am

It seems like you have to be ridiculous to argue this as anything other than a win-win trade

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 9:11 am
Reply to  GFunkClassic

but kinz are stupid lolz

macdoogs
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February 3, 2023 12:58 am

If Jokic and Embiid are the top 2 centers in the league, Domas is a close 3rd this season. Fox has been playing his best ball of his career imo, and he really took off offensively last year post trade. Ideally I think we all would love a hali/domas pairing but the team we have this year would have never came to be without that trade. 4th pick in the draft to currently 3rd in the west. Still doesn’t even feel real. I didn’t even know people were still arguing the trade at this point. Congrats to Domas. Congrats to Hali. That trade definitely benefited the both of them immensely

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 9:15 am
Reply to  macdoogs

Hali/Fox is the better pairing. Tyrese is special, but I don’t know that you can put the ball in his hands, knowing that he can get a clean look on a good shot anytime he wants. Fox’s ability to create good shots is rare among NBA players. Fox is a stone-cold killer.

Hali/Sabonis would undoubtedly be fun to watch, too. But can you get that clutch basket when you need it as reliably?

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 12:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I meant Sabonis/Fox. What a dope.

JoeEnzyme
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February 4, 2023 9:11 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Why does everyone pile on Sims? Even Sims?

RikSmits
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February 3, 2023 1:39 am

It’s time to stop wasting time arguing otherwise.

I love sacrcasm, and especially in the form of long articles arguing that we should stop arguing about a topic.

TheGrantNapear
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February 3, 2023 8:50 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Good point, arguing is the only reason comment driven sport’s websites exist.

AmateurNerd
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February 3, 2023 6:18 am

Inevitable national narrative: “Kangz traded away a future All-Star for a slower, older, more expensive player who can’t shoot 3’s or keep his hand un-broken. Hahahahahaha Kangz.”
Kings: “Standings.”

AnybodyButBagley
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February 3, 2023 6:21 am

Fox and Haliburton was not working and never was going to work. Someone had to go to another team. Nobody wanted Fox and his contract so it had to be Haliburton unfortunately.

Got rid of the logjam at point guard and picked up a legitimate All Star big. McNair did good in that situation.

Will Sabonis stay?

If Sabonis stays it is definitely a win win. If Sabonis leaves without anything in return maybe not a win win.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 3, 2023 5:33 pm

My reading of this thread’s general consensus is that trading for Domas was a “win now” move.

If the Kings make the playoffs breaking the drought, that is the win now they had as their goal and therefore the trade is a win. Even if Sabonis walks after next season.

Dan Houlder
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February 3, 2023 6:21 am

Kings fans, for the most part (I know better than to ever declare the fan base entirely feels a single way), are happy right now. 

We’re all happy, sort of, for the most part, I guess. I’m happy in that I look forward to watching every game and get an elusive feeling from childhood that some might call “fun.” I’m happy when I look at the standings and see the Kings standing triumphant over every other team in the NBA . . . in the Pacific.

Seeing a .580 win percentage makes me happy.

Others seem happy in a “grandpa being taken against his will to the beach” kind of way, which through one lens–i.e., grandpa’s–could be viewed as kidnapping, especially when grandpa would rather be sitting through an 18th viewing of Gettysburg on the History Channel.

But all kidding aside, Kings games these days are a good reminder why I became a fan in the first place.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 3, 2023 6:35 am

Kings with Sabonis – winning
Pacers with Haliburton – winning

’nuff said.

Dumping on Sacramento because of their history is a long established tradition, and one well earned over 16 seasons of consistent futility and disappointment.

To me, that’s all the naysayers got. KangzLOL.
Not very imaginative and based on the present standings has no basis. I’ve been following the Kings since 1985 – I’m old, y’see. Here’s a couple of things I’ve learned:
If you’re going to be a Kings fan, a tough skin is required.
Don’t feed the Trolls.

Hey, but Lebron is going to break Kareem’s scoring record! And the Lakers got jobbed on a blown call against Boston last weekend – can you believe it! History amd histrionics.Click, click, click.

I’d rather Feel Good – Light the Beam! What else matters?

AlRey
February 3, 2023 7:26 am

Love Hali. Wish we had kept him, traded Fox and built around the youth movement. Hali is special, no doubt. But how special remains to be seen. Sabonis is special too and until proven otherwise Hali could be the same type of special. There is a long way to go between All Star and superstar/dominant playoff performer, which for me is where the concern would be re: Hali. But until he does it, Hali ain’t that guy yet. And the assumption that his growth will just be linear to that apex is simply foolish.

Happy we have fun, winning basketball. Thanks, Monte.

Last edited 1 year ago by AlRey
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 3, 2023 7:50 am

I was disappointed with the trade at first. I was a huge Hali fan, but now I’m an ever bigger Sabonis fan. As of this moment I actually give the Kings a slight edge in trade. Sabonis has almost single handedly turned this floundering franchise around. The Kings would be nowhere without him. Had the trade never happened, I highly doubt a Fox, Hali, Buddy, Barnes, and Keegan team would 3rd in the West.

Speaking of Buddy, he’s an often overlooked aspect to the trade. The Kings got out of his contract which allowed for the trade of Huerter. There is addition by subtraction when it comes to the Buddy angle.

Now that being said, if the Pacers somehow flip Buddy for a pick or prospect, does that count against the Kings in trade? And to be fair to Buddy, he’s been a key cog for the Pacers this season. A lot of Hali’s assists are kicked out to Buddy and his 3.8 threes per game at 42% from deep. He has rekindled some of his mojo under Carlisle. It just goes to show how horrible Walton was with the past Kings pieces.

It will all come down to the summer of 2024. If Sabonis re-signs (I 99% think he will) then we can at worst call this a win-win trade. If Sabonis walks for nothing and Hali goes on to handful more all-star games and leads Indy in some playoff runs, then it could be viewed as bad a deal as any. For that to happen the Kings would have to absolutely shoot themselves in the foot to mismanage where they are going and not retain Sabonis, but Kangzier things have happened.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:30 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Speaking of Buddy, he’s an often overlooked aspect to the trade. The Kings got out of his contract which allowed for the trade of Huerter. There is addition by subtraction when it comes to the Buddy angle.

Now that being said, if the Pacers somehow flip Buddy for a pick or prospect, does that count against the Kings in trade?

These 2 comments go hand in hand IMO. The 1st part is very true. And because the 1st part is true, the 2nd part matters not except in one way: Buddy can still play. He just needed a new home. That’s the NBA quite often. If I were another NBA team and I’m looking at Duncan Robinson, I wonder if that type of turnaround is available. Robinson is on a better contract and could flip from liability to asset just as quickly. Not for the Kings, just in the general landscape of things. I’m old enough to remember when Buddy Hield wasn’t much of a NBA player, now he suddenly is in Indy. And it was because the stupid ass Kangz didn’t use him correctly.

Or, Buddy just wasn’t as good as he thought of himself as. I do think, however, it does help the Kings in a signficant way that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough. If you’re going to trade a buy low guy like Buddy, and he continues to play elsewhere, and you bring in players who are now thriving in your system (something tells me Buddy wouldn’t thrive playing off Domas), it means you swapped NBA players for NBA players. Do I think Huerter is appreciably better than HIeld? Not especially. But as you point out, without Buddy being included the Kings probaly don’t have Huerter or Monk at this point. That matters a lot.

I said at the time: The first thing I noticed was ‘How the fuck did they trade Buddy Hield?’ Monte McNair did something pretty spectacular in this deal from a number of fronts and there’s so many pundits out there still trying to yell ‘Kangz Kangz Kangz’ at the top of their lungs very few of them have bothered to actually look at the deal from as many angles as possible.

Buddy Hield is a NBA player, and there were a lot of people around the NBA that thought otherwise. That’s a good thing if you’re McNair because perception is often what drives teams to acquire a player. If they think there’s something that benefits them at a price they can accept, they’ll trade for that player. I bring this up because if there was any buy low project out there that I’d be willing to roll the dice on were I a GM, Richaun Holmes being very affordable (MLE level) on a 2 year deal after this one fits that to a tee.

Gregoryl
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February 3, 2023 9:30 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I think the Buddy angle is an overlooked one here. I despised Buddy’s game the last couple seasons in Sac, and considered his inclusion an “addition by subtraction” part of this trade, but he has been excellent in IND. I don’t regret having Buddy go, b/c things were not going to improve here, but I give him respect as a guy who has really found his game again in IND.
IND could keep him as a key cog, or could likely flip him for much more value than he had a year ago.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 11:18 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Hield is truly a textbook example of how a coach makes all the difference. I’m glad he’s doing well.

ArcoThunder
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February 3, 2023 7:51 am

I think a very important point hasn’t been made as of date. I will do it.

the sacramento kings as oddly as it may sound to outsiders established a type of play that has become the definition of sacramento kings basketball. A skulked big man who can pass the ball. Webber and Vlade created that. Before them there was not a “sacramento kings” style of basketball. They created it and in this long times kings fan opinion, it’s what this fan base wants. Vlade, Webber, Miller, even Cousins. It’s how this franchise is defined when things are fun and good. Sabonis is that guy!!! The next in the legacy. Hainurton while amazing (and I loved him) would never be able to bring that because he’s simply not a big man. Sabonis for Hali is a trade that is not only even in results for both franchises it gets sacramento back to what defines them. I could go on but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Dan Houlder
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February 3, 2023 7:58 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

That’s a good point. There’s something about Sabonis quarterbacking at the elbow looking for cutters that rekindles nostalgia for the Greatest Show on Court.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:20 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

the sacramento kings as oddly as it may sound to outsiders established a type of play that has become the definition of sacramento kings basketball. 

Yep. It does appeal to the more casual fan in this fanbase. Not the hardcore types here, necessarily, but it brings back up good memories for a fanbase not having nearly as many as anyone would like.

I personally grew up on the 20 years before the Grit N Grind Grizzlies known as the mid 90s pound it into the hardwood Kings so it’s different for me. But…..that’s when men were men and actually played to win the game and not load manage to get themselves into March mostly intact. Charles Barkley played, too. He even threw a guy through a bar window, and didn’t even get suspended for it. (Probably because Chuck was in the right, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Yeah. Different times, the 90s.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
RikSmits
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February 3, 2023 10:16 am
Reply to  ArcoThunder

I don’t think that is something that the Sacramento Kings established. Webber already averaged 5.0 and 4.6 assists in his two seasons at Washington.
Vlade was already a passing big man at the Lakers, alongside James Worthy, who was a passing big himself.

Bill Walton was a passing big man and was paired a few seasons with the underrated 6’8 PF Sidney Wicks (who avergaed over 3 assists) at Portland in the mid 70’s.

Mychal Thompson was a passing big man in the 80s long before he joined the Lakers.

Domas’ dad was a passing big man in Europe before Webber and Divac were even in the NBA.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 10:34 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I don’t think that is something that the Sacramento Kings established.

The concept of building around passing big’s? Goodness no. That goes back to the very beginning of basketball. AT’s point, IMO, is that for many that’s what the fanbase generally identifies as the best method towards building a successful NBA team.

But perhaps I missed something somewhere in there along the way, too.

RikSmits
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February 3, 2023 10:44 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I read it differently, as something typical for the Kings. I may be wrong.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 7:56 am

I don’t know what makes me happier: Murray winning WCROTM again, or that all of the other really good rooks are in the East. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed that Wemby and Scoot wind up in the East, too.

Oops, wrong thread.

Last edited 1 year ago by RobHessing
TheGrantNapear
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February 3, 2023 8:53 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Walker Kessler Jabari and Jalen Williams say hi. But point taken, looks like most of the talent from this draft ended up in the East and we can only hope Scoot and Wemb do as well.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:06 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Agreed – I would take any of those guys in a hot second, though none of them for Murray. I feel for Smith – he could not have got drafted into a worse situation. Such is life for NBA lottery picks. We been there / done that.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:17 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I don’t know…..I think the real issue is they are still rebuilding. If I were Houston, especially since that draft pick bill is coming due to OKC in 2024, I’d want a roster that could start winning very, very soon.

Personally, I think Sengun, Smith Jr, Eason, Green (even) are all building blocks. It’s Kevin Porter I don’t care for. Why they committed to him I’ll never quite understand. But maybe I don’t watch them enough either. I usually don’t as I’ve watched enough bad, boring basketball to last me at least several lifetimes.

BestHyperboleEver
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February 3, 2023 1:58 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

For me, Sengun is clearly the centerpiece. Smith is (theoretically) a perfect front court complement. Considering my (probably completely off) ideas of market value, team fit, and talent, I’d probably write Sengun and Smith into the lineup in pen. Pencil in KMJ and Eason. And see what the market may offer for everything else. That’s not to say I’d be in a hurry to move the others. My price for Green would be VERY high. But I’d be looking to for some mature, team-focused, guards to put around those guys. And draft Scoot if possible. But the short story is I’d be looking to consolidate some of the young talent/picks into more experienced players.

TheGrantNapear
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February 3, 2023 10:16 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Wow you would take Keegan over Jabari ? I personally haven’t watched enough Rockets to have an opinion on that. Should be interesting to see how their respective careers play out.
Unless HOU lands Scoot or Wemby, both Jabari and Jalen Smith are going to have rough starts to their careers with bad habits that may stick.
Situation as a rookie is everything, crazy that Keegan is in the perfect one given the Kangz history.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 8:14 am

I find that most of the folks that still want to argue about this trade are hot take artists that vociferously opined about the Kings getting hosed at the time of the trade, and they were so dug in at the time that they cannot be honest with themselves and reconsider. Better in their minds to double down and turn up the heat on their hot takes. More clicks, I guess.

The Kings have moved from 25th in team point differential to 6th. The Pacers have moved from 23rd to 25th. If we were looking at this in a vacuum, there is no contest to who benefitted more. But part of the Pacers number is impacted by Hali’s injury, and part of the Kings number is impacted by Mike Brown and the addition of Huerter and Monk.

What cannot be argued is that the players around Sabonis and Hali are both playing much better as a group. Fox is playing the best ball of his career, Turner has rediscovered his game and Hield has been re-born. Systems and coaching play roles here, but both Sabonis and Hali give off every appearance that they are both players that elevate those around them in their current environs.

Bottom line for me, when I see someone try to argue that one team won this trade, I discount it completely and move on. I just don’t find it to ever be a reasonable or well thought out take. It’s just someone with a mic or a Twitter account that does not deserve my (or your) time.

Last edited 1 year ago by RobHessing
Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:14 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Well said. But what put this one over the top for me was the comp of the George Hill-Kawhi Leonard trade.

The first time I saw that tweet was when Deuce Mason QuoteTweet’d his response to it.

TheGrantNapear
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February 3, 2023 8:58 am

I would classify it like this, at the one year mark it’s a win-win trade. Two to three years out, who knows. It’s like discussing draft picks after year 1 and who should have been drafted where, well we won’t know the definitive answer to that until a few years down the line.
A few years from now, Hali could be a top 5 player and Sabonis is what he is today but the Kings have made a WCF or Finals, I don’t know if it’s a win-win trade at that point, but I also don’t think MM would regret the trade under that scenario either.
IMO it’s a wait and see the same way we wait and see how rookies pan out. For that reason, the subject of who won the trade won’t and shouldn’t go away.
Just my 2 pennies.

Marty
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February 3, 2023 9:03 am

and it is abundantly clear that Fox excels in the system built around him and Sabonis.

This has been the story of the year for me, and yet another example of how wrong I can be, happily so.

I never feel like this team is out of it, and feel like they can compete with anyone. Playoff expectations for me are more than just making it.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:07 am
Reply to  Marty

It’s not the deal that I would have made, but if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that neither Vlade Divac or I should be an NBA GM.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:13 am
Reply to  RobHessing

if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that neither Vlade Divac or I should be an NBA GM.

Hear here. Throw me in that boat, as well.

Just curious as I’ve been thinking this for a very long time. 90% of a GM’s job is identifying talent and knowing what that talents rates from an asset valuation standpoint. Do you think that’s a fair percentage? No? Yours would be?

Vlade was really bad at drafting players and knowing what players were ultimately worth. He put together some very frustrating rosters, too. I find it ironic that the guy on the court who was wonderful for chemistry never truly created a roster with synergy or chemistry when he was in charge.

Anyhoo, that’s just me.

Want2win
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February 3, 2023 9:24 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

With Vlade it is similar to a case you see in business when they take a great sales person and assume they will be a great sales manager… truth be told it’s rarely the best sales people that make great sales leaders.

Vlade was a pretty damn good player that brought a team together but a horrible gm

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:26 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yeah, I think that 90% of it is asset valuation, especially for teams that can’t just throw money and big markets our there as a solution. I mean, if you can print your own money like they do in San Francisco, it gives you a little more wiggle room. But for most teams, you have to hit at least as often as you miss on your draft assets, whether it’s an actual pick or a trade. In Monte’s case, he crushed the #12 in his 1st year (became Sabonis), had a meh pick (so far) with the #10 a year later, seemingly knocked it out of the park at #4 this year, and may have perhaps acquired Huerter for what will likely become a non-lottery 1st in a couple of years.

After a sketchy start (the Bogi trade debacles), Monte has also been pretty good at improving the roster through the trade market. Sabonis (at a high cost), Lyles (for virtually free), Huerter for that non-lotto 1st.

Free agency is tougher. It’s open market and you have to go into it with the mindset that slight overpays are SOP. This has been a mixed bag for the Kings, as it is for virtually every other NBA team that are not privvy to ring hunters at discount prices.

Agility in the front office when it comes to asset management, synergy between management and coaching, talent and chemistry on the floor. Seems simple enough, but we had gone 16 years without it around here for a myriad of reasons and idiots. Counting my Kings fan blessings in the here and now.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 11:41 am
Reply to  RobHessing

had a meh pick (so far) with the #10 a year later,

This is debatable IMO, but you did qualify with the so far so I’ll let it go. There’s nobody truly there that I think makes a remarkable amount of difference for this Kings team. There isn’t a clear miss there. And as always, unless you were pounding the table for someone at the time, hindsight is 20/20 and useless in this exercise. You don’t make draft picks in hindsight.

After a sketchy start (the Bogi trade debacles)

Do not and never have agreed with this. That had more to do with Bogi than anything, and the timing of the original Woj tweet was dubious to begin with, too. I do find it interesting the Kings were not found guilty of tampering. It seems that has largely been forgotten in all of that hub-bub.

Monte has also been pretty good at improving the roster through the trade market. Sabonis (at a high cost), Lyles (for virtually free), Huerter for that non-lotto 1st.

This I 100% agree with. Generally speaking, the roster shaking trades of Haliburton/Hield for Sabonis made a humungous impact. It largely shapes the direction of this franchise as you managed to retain 2 starters (Fox and Barnes) with one of them at the very least being considered widely to be an All-Star level value (Fox). That was not the case a year ago at this time.

Take Barnes for instance. Right now, OG Anunoby is all the rage. But whatever price Memphis or New Orleans ends up paying for him, it’ll probably be too high. Nobody pays that price if they aren’t being competitive. But….here’s the funny part. The same Damon Rangoola who was part of the impetus that led to Greg writing this piece, who panned the Kings, said this:

https://twitter.com/damanr/status/1621177859426652160?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

He’s praising Masai Ujiri for a bidding war that hasn’t even happened yet or at least hasn’t been completed! That’s the world we live in in this day and age. There’s no guarantee Anunoby ends up in Memphis or New Orleans, right?

Which is why I like McNair. He isn’t worried about winning the optics game because…I’l be honest… that’s what I hate most about Vivek Ranadive. That and he’s erratic. It takes a lot to convince him that the Kings should do logical, nominal things. He refused to fire Walton when it made sense, then fired him when it didn’t make any sort of sense. ‘Forever Chaos Agent’ is the best way to describe him. That has ultimately what has caused a number of the issues along the way. But McNair has won the battles with Ranadive a lot of the time (especially all the important one’s) and I think has generally gotten the trust of the FCA. The last time you had a GM and HC on the same timeline was Divac and Joerger….and Joerger was Ranadive’s choice.

It’s all about the end game for me. If you are better off than where you started, especially if you take into considerations how many assets you had, what types of moves were available to you, etc etc, McNair has done a wonderful job to this point IMO.

Without recapping the moves, McNair has won more deals than not. He’s won a major move, several good moves, made a good move in FA (those are mostly whatever IMO), and has come away with NBA players out of 3 draft picks. That’s a better record than anything Vlade Divac did in his first 3 years by a very long shot. McNair inherited a roster with less assets and flexibilty than what Divac got, too.

It is what it is, but I like where the Kings are at right now. I did not like where the Kings were at a year ago. That alone speaks volumes how quickly things can change when the people running things belong in those postiions. That matters a lot.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
TheBaker
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February 4, 2023 12:44 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

It’s all about the end game for me.

This made me chuckle. The usual length of your posts say otherwise.

Timmy_13
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February 3, 2023 10:45 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Fun or not-so-fun exercise: Would Vlade still be here had he drafted Luka? I ponder it from time to time. Would love to have had Luka, but would absolutely dread having Divac as the main decision maker of this franchise. Kinda like a catch-22 if you will.

But that’s the past and the Kings are winning. That’s all that matters to me honestly.

Though maybe in the near future Luka demands a trade and asks the Kings to be his destination (because it’s a dream why not and also beautiful basketball).

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 11:16 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Vlade did two things that keep me from trashing him completely and totally all the time in what is truly an abject failure (and why you dont put players for nostalgia reasons in a chair they aren’t qualified to sit in) in his time as GM.

1) traded Cousins; I wouldn’t be here without that deal as I’m sure a lot of you know already
2) drafted De’Aaron Fox whom I enjoy watching play

That’s pretty much the good things I can say about his tenure. The misses in the draft, well that pretty much defines his time as GM in my view, and it starts with Luka but doesn’t remotely end there. The 2017 draft is as much an abominable failure as the 2018 draft was. The 2016 & 2015 drafts are chock full of misses there, too. Vlade Divac was pretty miserable at asset and talent evaluation.

I don’t really worry about not having Luka Doncic in a Kings uni because i don’t know Luka would be Luka as we know him today in Sac. He’s in an unique situation in Dallas and I wouldn’t necessarily claim it’s sustainable there either. Not in the current format, anyway.

Having said all that, I think the fact that McNair was on tenuous ground with Ranadive speaks to why he’s so damn good at his job. It takes guts that not all guys have to let Bogdanovich walk as McNair did (and correctly IMO). It takes guts to trade a young guy who at times profiled like an All-Star (but only after Sac traded him ironically) like Haliburton. It takes guts to build around a guy like De’Aaron Fox that can’t shoot, defend or lead.

They’ve done a lot in the about 3 years worth of time they’ve had to do it in. They’ve got a ways to go to truly be more than a pretender.

And all that being said, drafting Luka required a vision that Vlade was never capable of carrying out. So, no, simply put, I don’t think Luka saves his job because Vlade was not qualified to sit in that damn chair in the first place.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 9:05 am

I’m going to suggest that if the trade hadn’t happened, neither Sabonis nor Haliburton would be All-Stars this season.

And that’s all you need to know.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:10 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Well said Sims. Well said.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:11 am
Reply to  andy_sims

And I’d bet that Fox would not have gotten to the cusp, either.

Adamsite
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February 3, 2023 9:17 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Agreed.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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February 3, 2023 9:27 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Yep!!

BestHyperboleEver
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February 3, 2023 12:15 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I think it’s probably more meaningful to say that neither the Kings nor the Pacers would be winning as many games as they are. Ultimately, whether players are All-Stars or not doesn’t mean much.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 1:02 pm

Thank you for the constructive criticism, I will make sure to include every possible topic in my next comment.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 9:09 am

Eh, this will continue to be a running narrative. That the Kings didn’t think long term by buiilding around Haliburton. Those who buy that will continue to agree.

But the reality is, the Kings were irrelevant with Tyrese Haliburton. They are relevant with Sabonis and Fox and hopefully Murray and for potentialy 5 years to come. That’s what this trade was about. It was about securing a TV deal long term for a franchise that has their contract coming up before next season. This was about getting fans sitting in the stands and being loud. This was about creating excitement for a fanbase not having nearly enough for a very long time.

But I don’t expect Daman Rangoola or any outside pundit to understand that. I don’t expect anyone to get that when you compare George Hill (never an All Star) to Domantas Sabonis (a 2X All Star coming into the season), and I think it’s even more extraordinarily specious to compare Tyrese Haliburton to Kawhi Leonard in terms of overall impact at this stage of their careers. I expect no different from the Rangoola’s of the world, Lakers fan or not, or other national pundits with a big enough megaphone. They will do anything, hell or high water, to slam the stupid ass Kangz for trading their Golden Boy of the future. They will do anything in their power to poo-poo Sabonis’ impact on Fox, the franchise, etc etc. They have to, to quote a guy, continue the narrative of ‘good not great’ because without it, their take’s look terrible. Anything to support ‘Kangz, Kangz, Kangz.’ The show must go on, Sabonis making his 3rd time All Star game before 27 is nothing at all. Nothing to see here citizens, move along.

And so it goes. But as per usual, it’s the samo bullshit from the samo pundits who said the Kings couldn’t win 45-50 games in a season. That Fox and Sabonis didn’t work as a tandem, that there wasn’t enough shooting, rim protection, etc etc to win. There’s a simple solution: Keep going out there and winning games. These narratives go away once you do that, and having a top 3 ORtg that everyone said you couldn’t do doesn’t hurt matters either.

But you know, all for Kangz and Kangz for all!! Huzzah!!!

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:13 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Monte converted a #12 pick into Domantas Sabonis. Pretty good asset management there.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 3, 2023 9:27 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I don’t understand that logic. Hali goes #1 or #2 in a redraft. Saying Monte turned the #12 in the Sabonis is like saying the Hornets turned the #13 pick in 1996 into Vlade Divac. Would you say Monte turned the #2 pick in to Trey Lyles? Wouldn’t that be bad?

Where someone was drafted should have no bearing on their value once they are playing.

Gregoryl
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February 3, 2023 9:33 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Can’t blame Monte for Valde’s stupid draft pick…

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 9:37 am
Reply to  Adamsite

There is logic. It’s the overcooking the shit out of it that gets in the way.

The Kings had the #12 pick. A year and a half later, that pick was converted into Sabonis. Not understanding the confusion here.

There are folks that would have said at the time that you don’t draft another PG there when you need wings (Nesmith or Bey) or upside (Poku). The Kings took what they saw as the BPA and converted that into Sabonis less than two years later. That is the absolute definition of good asset management.

Also, had Monte drafted Bagley at #2 and later dealt him for Lyles, yes, I would call that poor asset management, the absolute shining example of asset management that sinks a franchise (as the drafting of Bagley helped to sink the Kings at the time). The fact that Monte was able to salvage anything out of the tire fire that was Vlade’s asset management in the 2018 draft is to be applauded.

TL/DR – Use your draft assets well and the world is your oyster. Fail and you’re just a barnacle on a sinking barge.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 11:24 am
Reply to  Adamsite

So you’re saying that Monte taking the completely obvious pick with Haliburton does him no credit?

Vlade Divac and Luka Doncic would like to talk that over.

Adamsite
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February 3, 2023 11:53 am
Reply to  andy_sims

That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying the trade was Hali and Buddy for Sabonis and not the #12 pick for Sabonis. Hali being taken #12 has nothing to do with it.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 1:04 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

So we still get Sabonis without selecting Haliburton at twelve?

Frankly, I don’t see it.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 11:45 am
Reply to  Adamsite

 Hali goes #1 or #2 in a redraft

Gonna disagree. I think Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball go ahead of him.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 11:53 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

With Bane and Maxey rounding out the top 5?

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 3:15 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Absolutely Rob. Maxey was 21st overall and Bane 30th overall. Proof yet again how much of a crapshoot the draft is.

Matter of fact, of all the players drafted since Luka in 2018, I’d have Edwards #1 ahead of everyone. Yes, even that highlight reel foul merchant. I’d rather have Ant than Ja. Health matters, alot.

BestHyperboleEver
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February 3, 2023 12:10 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

That probably depends on the team/FO and team need (YES, NEED MATTERS. Especially in a redraft). Edwards and LaMelo are flashier, thus there’s a bit more marketing allure. Haliburton is currently the more effective player though.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 3:16 pm

I’d take Edwards over every player drafted except for Luka since 2018.

I know that’s a hot take, but I think that guy is going to be truly special for a long, long time.

Want2win
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February 3, 2023 9:15 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Wait… I just realized we lost the trade because Richaun is no longer as impactful without Hali… I change my opinion of the whole damn trade… we are Kangz again in spite of this fun season with lots of winning, great ball movement and fluid offense. Plus who the hell wants to cheer for likeable guys… it’s a horrible trade that has ruined us forever! Bring Bagley and McLemore back!

am I doing this right?

Want2win
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February 3, 2023 9:10 am

I’m happy, are you happy? Kings are winning! Indy is winning when Hali is at Helm… I call that a win-win….

go Kings and light that mother freaking beam!

arbexfernando
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February 3, 2023 9:42 am

Good trade, win-win trade.

Just wanna say that a good structure, with a good coach (Mike brown) and good culture possibly would allow fox and hali to work well together. OMG, Sac’s coach was Luke freaking Walton, what a disgrace. Dude couldn’t even wear a mask in the right way.

It was the beggining of Monte’s tenure, we had Buddy and Bagley desinteressed, the roster lacked talent and was unballanced, there was no coaching.

Good for Indiana that they identified how much Monte valued Sabonis. A bad management (like Vlade) would shop him for one or two first round picks and we would keep Hali. 

Also, I think that Monte wanted initially to trade Fox for Sabonis. Fox sat because a misterious injury near the deadline last year. But Fox wasn’t playing very good and has big contract.

Gregoryl
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February 3, 2023 11:51 am
Reply to  arbexfernando

Totally different objectives. Kings wanted win-now and Pacers were OK waiting. IND should be a legit contender in a couple years, they have a good young roster.

WizsSox
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February 3, 2023 12:43 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

IND should be a legit contender in a couple years

It’s possible sure…should feels like a strong word. Nice young roster, but I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if over the next 2-3 years they are never better than the Kings are right now (or at least projected record at moment). Being a contender in the East at the moment is very big step from where they are at.

That said…Kings may be in a similar boat. But I’m totally fine with that right now.

Last edited 1 year ago by WizsSox
ajonez81
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February 3, 2023 10:25 am

The trade is pretty close to even right now, we’ll see what happens over the next few years. If we lose Sabonis and/or Tyrese turns into a superstar then we lost but we could also end up having tremendous success with D-Bone and Tyrese might be near his peak. So far so good for me as a Kings fan, we are doing way better than last year so that means most to me, even if they won the trade so far.

Gregoryl
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February 3, 2023 10:30 am
Reply to  ajonez81

The 2 teams just had completely different objectives. Kings wanted to win-now and the Pacers were willing to wait. I love IND’s strategy of loading up on young guys and bringing in Hali and their complete control of his contract for the foreseeable future.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 11:43 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Indy was also in a position to really have a much longer view towards rebuilding. Sac did not. That’s a big, big difference.

BestHyperboleEver
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February 3, 2023 12:13 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

The Kings were definitely under more pressure to win in the near term, contract control be damned.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 3:18 pm

Yep. Their TV contract is up after this season. Think about that, especially since Sinclair (which owns Bally sports) is said to be filing for bankruptcy shortly.

My cynical side says this is all negotiating tactics and things will happen moving forward, but whatever. It is what it is. It doesn’t change the Kings TV contract status which could be a real problem moving forward regardless of this season.

Timmy_13
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February 3, 2023 10:27 am

While I agree that trading Hali hurts and I would’ve traded Fox for Domas instead, there was no way in hell Indy would accept Fox in the first place. It’s just that Hali is the better asset at that time (younger and cheaper — easier to be moved).

Now do I still get sad when I see Hali play? Absolutely. Would I still want him on the Kings? 100%. But Domas is no slouch. You don’t get 3 all-star nods for sucking and it’s not like that Zaza Pachulia fan vote either. I think Domas should be in the MVP conversation at least. Dude is an All-NBA player this year. Holy hell.

I still think about the Luka draft from time to time but with the Kings being 3rd, I kinda forgot about it I guess. Winning cures everything.

Kosta
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February 3, 2023 10:55 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Winning cures everything.

I don’t know, man. The Kings are winning, but Domas’ thumb is still fractured.

Timmy_13
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February 3, 2023 11:14 am
Reply to  Kosta

HE CAN GO LEFT
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Timmy_13
Gregoryl
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February 3, 2023 11:52 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

There’s my MVP.

RobHessing
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February 3, 2023 11:55 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Most Vlade Player?

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 1:06 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

You cheeky bastard.

BeTheBall
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February 3, 2023 12:01 pm

I don’t understand how people can claim that Haliburton’s skillset is “special”, yet Sabonis’ somehow isn’t. Seems to be they’re both elite at what they do.

andy_sims
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February 3, 2023 1:12 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Honest to god. Haliburton is first in assists per game. Sabonis is thirteenth.

He’s also #1 in rebounds, and tosses in 19 points to Haliburton’s 20.

But you know, stupid Kangz are stupid, so that doesn’t matter.

Kingsguru21
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February 3, 2023 3:21 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I, too, don’t understand this BTB.

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