The Pacers traded Sabonis in a six-player deal last season, and he has played a major role in helping the Kings turn their entire franchise around. After years of being in the NBA’s basement, the Kings now appear to be the real deal and are currently sitting at the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Malone questioned the wisdom of the Pacers for ever letting Sabonis go.
“Why would you ever trade a player like that?” he asked, according to Chris Sheridan of Legends Magazine.
So far this season, Sabonis has been on a tear. He’s averaging 18.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in 55 games. He’s hitting 61.1 percent of his field goals and 34.8 percent of his 3-point shots.
He’s earned his third selection to the All-Star Game this season.
Most importantly, the Kings finally look like they have a core of talented players that can lead the franchise to a much brighter future.
The team currently has six players that are averaging 11.9 points per game or more, and guard De’Aaron Fox is leading the way with an impressive 24.8 points per game.
One thing the Kings will surely want to do once the regular season resumes after the All-Star break is continue winning at a solid clip. Though Sacramento currently owns the No. 3 seed, the West is incredibly congested this season.
Just three games separate the third seed from the eighth seed right now. So while this season has potential to be a special one for Sabonis and the Kings, they have to make sure to keep their eyes on the prize.
As for the Pacers, their season is looking pretty bleak. They’re currently the No. 12 seed in the East and 2.5 games back from the No. 10 seed, the final seed to advance to the play-in tournament.
With that in mind, Tyrese Haliburton, one of the players the Pacers received in return for Sabonis, earned his first All-Star Game berth this season.