Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis has been in the news lately with reports of a potential move. The chatter has intensified, with the suggestion the Pacers would only consider a Nikola Vucevic type of package.
With the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline less than two weeks away, front offices have gotten busier trying to facilitate trades that might help a team in the second half of the season.
The Pacers are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, a far cry from their ninth-place finish last season. Coming into the season, fans had high expectations for the Pacers but have been disappointed so far.
The Sabonis-Myles Turner partnership has not yielded the expected results. Both players have not thrived playing together, and perhaps a time for change has come.
Speaking on the league-wide trade rumors, including that of Sabonis, HoopsHype's Michael Scotto gave insight into an NBA executive's thought process. According to Scotto (from 15:45), the Pacers would only be interested in a Vucevic type of package:
"Regarding Domantas Sabonis, one NBA executive told me he doesn't see the Pacers moving Sabonis unless they get a Nikola Vucevic type of package in return as Orlando did when they traded the All-Star center to Chicago last season. That executive is with a team that has been looking at some big men."
"Certainly, they are doing their due diligence, and if that's the asking price for Domantas Sabonis, I don't think that's out of bounds at all. I think that's pretty fair value."
For Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu, the Bulls gave up Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. with two first-round picks in 2021 and 2023. It was reported late last year that the Pacers might be looking to rebuild, which makes sense for them to require first-round picks for a successful trade.
Domantas Sabonis might miss the All-Star Game
Although Sabonis is dependable for the Indiana Pacers, he might miss the opportunity to make his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance. He is not on the top-10 list in fan voting, and that might be largely due to how poorly his team has performed.
Nonetheless, Sabonis has done a decent job scoring and cleaning the glass. He is averaging 19.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 57.7%.
Despite his efforts, the Pacers have never won four consecutive games. Last time out against the Hornets, they gave up the most points ever in franchise history, losing 158-126.
Sabonis is an exciting talent and could grow into one of the best big men in the league. However, he needs to deliver more for his team, especially on defense.