Pacers trade a ‘blessing’ Haliburton wants to make Kings regret originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
But that doesn’t mean he won’t try to show Sacramento he believes it made a mistake in the process.
In an interview with BasketballNews.com’s Alex Kennedy, the 22-year-old said he now sees the resentment he held toward the Kings organization after they traded him as “immature” — though he’s still using the situation as fuel to make the most of his new opportunity with the Pacers.
“… It’s funny — the other day I was just writing down regrets I have in my life, unfulfilled expectations and resentments, and the only resentment I could come up with in my life right now is the Sacramento Kings. And it’s like, I don’t want to hold onto that,” Haliburton told Kennedy. “If I’m being completely honest, that [trade] is such a blessing for me.
“It’s so easy now to look at it that way, but it’s a complete blessing for me to be in the situation that I’m in, to have the ability to showcase what I can do and play my natural position.”
Along with Haliburton, who was drafted by Sacramento 12th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Kings on Feb. 8 sent Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a 2023 second-round draft pick. It marked the Kings’ first significant trade under general manager Monte McNair.
At the time, Haliburton was lighting up the league in his sophomore season despite Sacramento’s 20-35 record. The young guard averaged 17.3 points per game and 9.4 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range in the 24 games leading up to the deal.
The trade came as a surprise to both Haliburton and his teammates, even though the Kings were getting a two-time All-Star in Sabonis in return.
And as Kennedy wrote, Haliburton still uses the trade as motivation in hopes of making Sacramento regret its decision with his on-court output.
“I think for the rest of my career, that [trade] is in my head, right?” Haliburton told Kennedy. “I think the great ones take little things, negative things and run with them. It’s funny — when I do things well, people are always like, ‘Look at what the Kings did!’
“I love that stuff. That’s what I love. My whole life, I just love proving people wrong … Everything I do, I just want it to be like, ‘[Look at what the Kings did]!”
In 26 games with the Pacers to end the 2021-22 season, Haliburton averaged 6.2 points and 9.6 assists while shooting just over 50 percent from the field. In comparison, Sabonis averaged 7.5 points and 5.8 assists while making 55 percent of his shots in 15 games with the Kings at center.
As Haliburton continues to grow in the league, it’s clear he is using how things ended in Sacramento as an opportunity to grow while his old team attempts to end its 16-season playoff drought.
And with a Pacers roster looking to compete for a postseason spot of their own this upcoming season, whether or not he makes good on his promise of regret remains to be seen.
Source: Yahoo Sports