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Tyrese Haliburton Wanted to be Drafted by the Kings, per report

On the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, host Zach Lowe and draft analyst Jonathan Givony reported that Tyrese Haliburton's agent told teams to pass on him so he could fall to Sacramento.

For years, the Sacramento Kings have had a tough time convincing top talent in the NBA draft to come workout and interview with the franchise during the pre-draft process. You could hardly blame Kings fans for worrying that history would repeat itself in the lead up to the 2020 NBA Draft. But the franchises’ newest top draft pick, Tyrese Haliburton, reportedly not only wanted to come to Sacramento - he and his agent reportedly told teams not to select him because he wanted to end up with the Kings.

On the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe, along with ESPN’s cap guru Bobby Marks and draft analyst Jonathan Givony, ran through the odds and ends of another crazy NBA draft night. Fans of the draft should give the whole episode a listen, but the highlights for Kings fans came at the 30 minute mark:

Lowe: Givony, I heard that Dallas was up to a lot last night… trying to offer (picks) 18, 31, and something else, I’m not sure if it was a player or a pick, to everyone from like (pick) 7 to 10 to 11, and I’m pretty sure the target was Haliburton. They were hot on Haliburton and they were offering all these picks to try and move up to get Haliburton… they didn’t get him.

After a discussion about Dallas’ other moves of the night, Givony brought the conversation back to Haliburton.

Givony: ...Haliburton, they (the Mavericks) were 100% trying to get him, starting at 8, they offered a, like you said, a boatload of stuff and future picks even to try and go get him. People are like, how did Haliburton fall so far?!… a lot of this was by design. The consistent theme that I kept hearing in the pre-draft process from agents was, “I hate the teams that are drafting in the top 10. I don’t want my guys with any of those franchises.” And so, they were very selective with who got medicals and they were openly telling teams, “don’t take my guy, please.” So I think, that is a big reason why Haliburton ended up going 12. He… he could have gone 6, I think, had he wanted to, but he was open to, you know, “let me sacrifice $7, 8 million because I think it’s going to end up working out in the long term with Sacramento”... and Zach, how many times can you say a player wants to go to Sacramento?! It’s incredible!!”

Zach: I knew exactly where you were going when  you said “how many times…”... but it’s a great pick for them! (ESPN’s Kevin Pelton) Pelton had him ranked like the number two prospect in the entire draft… he probably fits well next to De’Aaron Fox… I really like that pick for them.

The very concept seems a fevered dream of a madman - a player regularly projected by draft insiders as a top pick reportedly allowed his agent to tell teams “don’t take my guy, please” and sacrificed millions of dollars to land in basketball hell. Is this real life?! And it’s not as if Tyrese was getting bad advice from a small-time agent - as our buddy RORDOG pointed out earlier today, he’s represented by Aaron Mintz of CAA. Haliburton was a near-unanimously popular pick after the draft, but it seems fans will now have even more reasons to love his selection.

Of course, knowing that Haliburton wanted to come to Sacramento makes a few things from yesterday all the sweeter.


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November 19, 2020 5:53 pm

The Bill Simmons clip was interesting. I’m assuming that’s his son saying “[email protected] you Sacramento, no one even likes your city.”
Sounds like a brat just like Bill.

November 19, 2020 5:57 pm

“I gave up nearly $10 million so I could play for one of the worst franchises in any professional sports league” – said nobody, ever. Or maybe a crazy person.

November 19, 2020 6:14 pm
Reply to  Otis

Matt George has today’s conference call with Haliburton on his pod today. They specifically asked him if his agent tried to steer him towards Sacramento, and he didn’t deny it. He just said he let his agent handle that stuff, but one of the teams he wanted to go to was Sacramento. I think the most realistic explanation is that they tried to steer clear of certain teams in the top 10. That’s a little different than saying he only wanted to play in Sac. He also talked about how they had a call in the last couple of days in which they sold him on his fit in Sacramento, and hinted that the Kings were considering moving up to draft him.

November 19, 2020 6:21 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I freaking hate transcribing this shit but he basically said “I never worked out for Sacramento…a couple days before the draft we had a zoom meeting, and they shared how much they loved me; talking about coming up to get me, but I fell here and this is exactly the place I want to be. And they’re really excited to have me and that’s all I can ask for..”

November 19, 2020 6:40 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Thanks, Rory. That sounds considerably less nefarious than Givony was implying.

And would an agent arbitrarily move his player potentially out of ten million dollars (“I let my agent handle that stuff”)? I highly doubt it.

November 19, 2020 8:35 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

This makes far more sense than what I’ve seen before.

November 19, 2020 6:05 pm

Two things:

  1. love getting a revenge on the Mavs after losing that guy who can’t be named
  2. i wonder how many teams hats Tyrese (or any other players for that matter) prepared on draft night in case they get pick by other teams
November 19, 2020 7:19 pm
Reply to  02kingsfan

The NHL sent every team’s hat to the prospects who were rated in the top 40 (though Columbus took a guy in the 1st round who wasn’t considered near the top 40), so I wouldn’t be surprised if the NBA did the same thing.

November 19, 2020 11:18 pm
Reply to  02kingsfan

From what I saw, players had the NBA Draft signage near them, which was actually a cupboard with all the hats in them. Forget who it was (Heat pick?) but in the background you could see the a guy open then cupboard with a row of hats. He pulled one out and put it on the draftee’s head.

November 19, 2020 6:22 pm

This may be a lie, but it’s a lie I can get behind.

November 19, 2020 6:26 pm

Well, didn’t he name all of the starters for the glory days Kings squad? Maybe he’s just as crazy as we are and loves the Kings!

November 19, 2020 6:27 pm

“I hate the teams that are drafting in the top 10. I don’t want my guys with any of those franchises.”

He lost me at this part. I mean, c’mon man. Golden State? Atlanta?

But still, hearing Hali speaking nicely about the Kings is really nice. I will be rooting for him to be successful here. Hope he and Fox can be the backcourt of the future.

November 19, 2020 6:31 pm

I think he was okay going top 4, or Detroit/Sac. So he wanted to go 1,2,3,4,7, or 12. That’s slightly different than saying he only wanted to go to Sacramento.

November 19, 2020 7:22 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Agreed. He was slated to be drafted around the 5-10 range which I can see the logic that his agent does not want his player to be drafted by some of the teams. I assume its Cleveland, New York, Atlanta and probably Washington.

November 20, 2020 4:50 am
Reply to  RAP87

The difference between the 5 slot and the 12 is around $11 million over the course of the first contract. Haliburton’s entire first contract with the Kings will be worth around $18 million. And the agent did this of his own volition?

Yeah, still not buying it.

November 20, 2020 11:08 am
Reply to  Otis

If you flip it around how many times have we heard players and their agents were avoiding Sacramento in the draft? If we believe rookies consciously chose to take less money to not play in Sac, then the opposite must also be possible.

November 19, 2020 6:31 pm

Well, it’s true that a Fox Haliburton backcourt is better.

November 19, 2020 6:53 pm

Some quality parenting by ol’ Billy Ballbag. Apparently the apple doesn’t fall far in that family.

Aside from that now I’m thinking that Halliburton might be clinically insane.

Last edited 4 months ago by BeTheBall
November 19, 2020 7:23 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

It sounds like Givony misunderstood something he heard.

November 19, 2020 7:52 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Maybe Bill Simmons hates Sacramento because it reminds him of the smaller town he came from that is outside of Boston. Except he’s jealous that Sacramento has a basketball team while Marlborough, Massachusetts does not.

November 19, 2020 8:36 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Nobody has ever heard of Marlborough Mass, anyway.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kingsguru21
November 19, 2020 7:47 pm

Can we please have the new City Edition Sacramento Kings Jerseys look like Hali’s draft night suit jacket? I think it looks better than whatever they’ve been coming up with lately.
comment image

November 19, 2020 7:57 pm
Reply to  Kosta

If it isn’t too late I’ll take 2

November 19, 2020 8:09 pm

There are reports that they were indeed trying to engineer him to a team, but that it was the Suns and not the Kings. This was apparently reported by Jonathan Givony on the Lowe Post podcast.

To me it makes more sense that it would be to the Suns. They’ve got the star scorer in Booker there, but they need the long term point guard to pair him with. Then they went on that 8-0 run in the bubble and it started to look like they turned the corner and are an ascending team. Plus, while they’re probably not an elite market like LA or Miami, Phoenix is probably solidly in that second tier.

It’s possible all that deliberate alienation went down before the Paul trade had really moved to the forefront, but the damage was already done and that’s why he slid.

Last edited 4 months ago by highland_doug
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November 19, 2020 8:39 pm

Looks like Bjelly is staying.

November 19, 2020 8:46 pm
Reply to  Klam

I wonder if that means they are going to trade him now. He’s got some value and if they are going to move him for something it makes sense.

November 19, 2020 9:03 pm

It is hard for me to believe that Halliburton would have wanted to come here if Vlade was still GM. But then again, Vlade never would have drafted him, anyway. Even if Halliburton’s agent didn’t engineer his fall to the Kings, he seems genuinely happy to be here, and I attribute some of that to new professionalism brought to the organization by McNair.

November 19, 2020 9:38 pm

“It does seem like he iced out some teams in the top 10”

-Bill Simmons on Haliburton falling to the Kings

November 19, 2020 9:40 pm

So listening to Kevin O’Connor on the Simmons podcast, he was saying that he had heard that Bledsoe was supposed to be in the deal because it would allow Bogi to get paid more money (I guess because his contract was bigger so more money would be coming back?) and when Bogi’s people found out that he wasn’t going to get the amount of money he thought he was, they bailed. So take that with a grain of salt but that would seem to make sense.

November 19, 2020 9:47 pm

I like that we’re listening to the pod at the same time. It’s like we’re hanging out together.

November 19, 2020 9:52 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Nice! Yeah I gotta be honest, the scenario KOC laid out certainly does make some sense. The only thing I can’t wrap my head around is how it would have taken Bogi’s people so long to figure out he wasn’t making as much money as he thought he was going to. Hat-tip to the Kingsguru himself because he suggested this didn’t make any sense from the beginning because Bogi wasn’t going to making very much money. Turns out that may be exactly why this deal was never going to happen.

November 19, 2020 9:57 pm

I really have to question Tyrese’s BBIQ after hearing this…

But really, that is awesome that he wants to be here. Historically terrible small market teams with a rabid fanbase are kind of my bag, so it’s certainly unusual to get a player that is on board from day 1 (as opposed to crying on the plane or playing in an entirely different league until it folds) but some guys would rather have the right situation for them to ply their craft or just prefer the vibe of a smaller city and I will take it when it happens, especially when the player in question is as talented as Tyrese Haliburton appears to be.

November 20, 2020 5:39 am

Just wanted to say I just discovered this website and it puts SacTownRoyalty to shame. In fact I found it from a comment someone wrote there saying “Check out Kings Herald, they are way better.” I was not disappointed. Keep up the good work!

Last edited 4 months ago by John Deming
November 20, 2020 10:03 am
Reply to  CheetoDuster

Welcome glad to have you! It’s true, this place is so much better than that other site!

November 20, 2020 7:23 am

Going to give this a try on my dumb phone.

Speaking of the hats that were sent to the expected draftees did anyone else notice there was a family gathered around a player (I can’t recall his name right now, my apologies) at their home, in the family room on a couch, to the players right was a young boy who was smiling and having a great time.

As the TV announcers announced the drafting teams name that was choosing the player, it was also announced almoat immediately that the drafting team was trading the player to a cold weather team, the Bucks or Timberwolves, I believe.

An older gentleman in the family became really animated and I SWEAR, I thought he threw the new teams hat behind a couch and down the hallway and let out a large F Bomb.

The young boy was really smiling at this point and the player was poker-faced as the older gentleman, perhaps his dad, grabbed the hat he threw behind the couch and jammed it on the players head.

I rewound the DVR and I am almost certain the F Bomb flew. Did anyone else hear the same thing or was I suffering from late night sleep deprivation? In any event, it was a light moment in the middle of the draft.

Great draft by the Kings. I was watching the draft and taking in the developing efficient/creative drafting/trading of picks by the new King’s GM and listening to the local Houston radio broadcast of the Rockets and their internal dysfunction and chuckled to myself. It seemed as if the whole world was turned upside down. A welcome change.

November 20, 2020 7:52 am
Reply to  Bryant

That is indeed the player. RJ was holding it in. I am fairly certain the F bomb flew. Thanks Bryant.

November 20, 2020 7:50 am


November 20, 2020 8:14 am

Here’s a quote from a Bee article ( that focuses on the trainer Halliburton used over the summer. The trainer put Halliburton on a nutrition program that he claims has already increased his weight by 10 lbs.

Abunassar said the strength and nutrition program helped Haliburton go from 175 pounds at Iowa State to 185 pounds now. 


[…] Haliburton briefly touched on reports that some combination of the Kings and Haliburton's team orchestrated his slide to the Kings at 12, along with his role, expectations, and fit with De'Aaron […]

November 21, 2020 4:54 pm

Seems to be agent driven excuse for falling in the draft ! I firmly believe if Charlotte took him at 3 he would have been elated ! He is a nice young man who is happy to be a lottery pick and that is enough ! Kings fortunate !


[…] NBA Draft. Haliburton’s game complements Fox perfectly. Haliburton, a consensus top-10 prospect, reportedly told other teams not to draft him so he could play for the […]


[…] NBA Draft. Haliburton’s game complements Fox perfectly. Haliburton, a consensus top-10 prospect, reportedly told other teams not to draft him so he could play for the […]


[…] NBA Draft. Haliburton’s game complements Fox perfectly. Haliburton, a consensus top-10 prospect, reportedly told other teams not to draft him so he could play for the […]

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