“I hung up, set my phone down, and started crying my eyes out!”: Tyrese Haliburton opens up about his immediate reaction to surprisingly getting traded by the Sacramento Kings

Joe Viju
|Published February 18, 2022

Former Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton recently reveals his true feelings about his shocking trade to the Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis.

The recently concluded NBA trade deadline was one of the most chaotic ones we’ve had as fans for a long time. One of the more surprising deals was the Kings-Pacers trade, which saw Domantas Sabonis arrive in Sacramento in exchange for arguably the Kings’ best player in rising superstar Tyrese Haliburton.

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While it was known that the Pacers are trying to rebuild following their mediocre showing over the last few years, no one expected them to end up with the better player in Haliburton. Moreover, everyone expected the Kings to ship off De’Aaron Fox and build around the Iowa Town product for the foreseeable future.

And it looks like the former Sac-town guard felt that way as well. In a recent interview, Tyrese Haliburton shared how shocking the news to him as well, and give us his two cents post the trade. Let’s get into it, shall we?

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Tyrese Haliburton initially thought it was a ‘joke’ when informed about the Pacers trade.

Sacramento fans really thought they had the jackpot with Tyrese Haliburton. Ultimately, the Kings front office decided there was only room for one point guard, and choose Fox instead of rolling the dice with Haliburton.

In fact, the 6’5 guard did not believe it at first when he heard the news of the trade. Writing for the Players’ Tribune, the sophomore star opened up about his reaction to him getting moved to Indiana. He goes on to say –

“I honestly thought he was joking. It was like, Come on now. They’re not trading me. Get out of here. But two seconds later, when it became clear that, actually, he wasn’t joking.”

“I mean, I know this might sound like I’m being dramatic, but you know when you get the news that something bad has happened to a family member or a close friend? And it feels like for a few seconds your heart almost stops? Like there’s just a hollow feeling all through your body? That’s kind of what it was like.”  

“After hanging up, I walked into the bathroom and just sat on the counter by the sink in silence. Once the news broke, the next few hours were like a blur. Just a million phone calls and texts with family and friends.”

“And I think that’s what all those tears and emotions were about, at the end of the day. It felt like something I cared about was ending way too soon.”

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Wow. The Kings did him dirty. Especially to a guy who loved the city and the organisation. Be it from a business perspective or even a basketball one, it just didn’t make sense. However, in typical Kings fashion, they f**k up any chance of a good future with a move like this.

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Tyrese Haliburton was sure of staying in Sacramento before the trade deadline.

Very few players want to associate themselves with an organization like the Kings. Tyrese Haliburton was a rare exception. The 21-year-old even said he wants to be like the next Chris Webber for the team. That’s how invested the young guard was in Sacramento.

So, it was a shock to everyone when he was traded to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis. Haliburton included. Recently, he made an appearance on ESPN, where he opened up his reaction to the trade –

“I got a call from my agent about 30 minutes before [the trade] and he said, ‘I think you might get traded. I thought it was a joke, if I’m being honest. Next thing I knew our GM called me 30 minutes later, he was like, ‘We’re trading you to Indiana.’ I was gone.”

“Yeah, to say the least,” Haliburton said when asked if the news came as a shock. “Absolutely had no indication or no idea that I was getting traded. My friends were messing with me like, ‘Are you scared for the deadline?’ I’m like, ‘I’m good.’”

Ouch. One of the only few players who wanted to be with Sacramento and build a legacy there. And what do the Kings do? Move him. Firstly, it was an awful trade that didn’t make the team any better (in the short or long term). Secondly, the roster makes less sense. Thirdly, and most importantly, the decision to deal away Haliburton was terrible just on its own.

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The former Sacramento guard looks all set to be the franchise cornerstone for the Indiana Pacers now.

In his first 4 games as a Pacer, Haliburton is averaging 20.8 points, 11.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. And if that is a sign of things to come, this could prove to be another costly mistake for Sacramento, something that they might look back at with regret.

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For the first time in a long time, the Pacers look like they know what direction they are going. Along with Tyrese, they have a good young core in Chris Duarte and an up-and-coming player in Isaiah Jackson, who averaged 18.0 points, over seven rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in three games before suffering an ankle injury.

As of now, it looks like the Pacers won the trade. But that was expected. After all, when has Sacramento done anything that made sense? After all, Kings gonna Kings.

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